Yonezawa Jirō (b. 1956)
A native of the island of Kyūshū, Ōita Prefecture, Yonezawa Jirō has been practicing the art of bamboo for more than thirty-five years. After training at the Beppu Vocational Arts Training Center, he spent a year as an apprentice to the artist Masakazu Ono, then continued his training at the Ōita Prefectural Industrial Art Research Institute. He is the only artist in his field to have sejourned in the United States, where he lived and worked for eighteen years. Influenced by and influencing the American fiber art movement, his work became bolder, making way for sculptural works. Since 2008 he has been living in his native village, where he built his studio. Exhibited throughout the world, his works are held in many American collections, both public and private.
The regenerative quality of bamboo inspired his fascination for this hollow grass. The images, sounds, and sensual and emotional experiences of daily life find a new expression through his hands, from which woven sculptures and vessels spring forth. For him, the "process of preparing strips to weave and then weaving forms from those strips is inherently meditative. The cacophony of life dissipates; the sculpture emerges vigorous and vibrant. Form, contrast, balance, and the interplay of space, color, and texture" are constitutive elements of his œuvre.