Paul Binnie

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Paul Binnie (born 1967) is a Scottish artist working in the Japanese tradition of woodblock printmaking. His work is reflective of the shin hanga artists of the early to mid-20th century, employing subjects such as landscapes, tattoos, and female beauties (bijin).

Biography[edit]

Paul Binnie was born in Alloa, Scotland in 1967 and studied art history at Edinburgh University and painting and etching at Edinburgh College of Art from 1985 to 1990. After taking his MA in 1990 he moved to Paris until his interest in Japanese Ukiyo-e prints took him to Japan in 1993. There he studied woodblock print carving and printing with the master Seki Kenji.

Binnie also began experimenting with kappazuri (stencil printing). His first stencil prints depicted tattooed figures, followed by actor portraits. By late 1995, Binnie left Seki’s studio to concentrate on his own work, primarily focusing on kabuki subjects, a genre which Binnie had begun to collect in earnest. He was increasingly interested in actor portraits by shin hanga artists such as Natori Shunsen (1886–1960) and Ota Masamitsu (1892–1975), and he also began to appreciate and collect landscape prints by artists such as Kawase Hasui (1883–1957) and Hiroshi Yoshida (1876–1950).

In 1998, Binnie moved to London and set up his own studio. Here he expanded his oeuvre to include landscapes and bijin. While his actor prints were largely concerned with capturing the emotion and intensity of the actor’s role in a given moment, Binnie's landscape and bijin prints often incorporate an art historical reference, usually to earlier well-known prints.

Beginning in 2004, Binnie returned to the tattooed figure subject with the series, A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo, in which he applies designs from ukiyo-e prints by famous artists to nude figures.

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