Hiroko Otake is a Japanese artist who majored in Traditional Japanese Painting -Nihonga, at Tokyo University of the Arts. In 2015, she entered the Program of Overseas Study for Upcoming Artists sponsored by the Japanese government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs. She spent one year of her grant in New York City performing various scholarly activities.
Currently based in Tokyo, Otake frequently works with themes that are in relation to butterflies and flowers. As an artist, Otake desires to create original works that she had not seen anywhere else and to visualize her ideas and images of her mind tangibly. Through these efforts, she is able to better connect to the society around her.
Otake has been working on a global scale, creating and showcasing her works in major cities such as New York, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Taipei, as well as in cities in Japan. She continues to work passionately in forging a new style of painting that is distinctly her own and pushes the limits of her artistic abilities working with various institutions such as hotels, art galleries, and department stores. Collaborating with Waterfall Mansion & Gallery, she had an exhibition with Bergdorf Goodman and currently, a number of her works are exhibited at the Waterfall Gallery.
Hiroko Otake focuses her artworks on two main themes: butterflies and flowers. The butterfly, in her work, is synonymous with “psyche” (from the Greek word “ψυχή” (psūkē)), meaning “life” in the sense of “breath”, “spirit”, “soul”, and “ego”. Otake uses butterflies in her works to represent the beauty, shimmer, and spiritual renaissance of the soul and mind. Hiroko Otake feels sincerity and candor observing nature and she is especially drawn to the butterflies and flowers. Like her life, the lives of butterflies and flowers are constantly exposed to instants veiled by uncertainty. She resonates with their ability to modify and renew their shapes in accordance with the environment that is continuously changing.
Connecting with people through her artwork enables Otake to ponder more about what it means to be a human and it inspires and encourages her growth as an artist and human. For this reason, Otake wants her audience to bring their personal experiences to her artwork.
Nihonga, a Japanese painting technique, helps Otake to express herself more personally and eloquently to the world. She uses mineral rock pigments mixed with animal glue, incorporating other materials such as metal leaves and silk on Japanese paper,washi. In her use of natural materials, she takes an advantage of nature’s aleatoric disposition and instigates various chemical reactions with different metals on her pieces, embracing the unique characteristics of each material.