Interview with Masaaki Nakagami

We spoke with Professor. Seisho Nakagami, whose solo exhibition will open on Fri March 6!



-This is your first solo exhibition at Gallery Seek.
Could you tell us the origin of the subtitle “-Colors of Light, Scent of Wind-” for this show?
I think it is important for my work to have nuances that cannot be expressed in words, since it is a work that appeals to the sense of sight.
I think it is important to have nuances that cannot be expressed in words.
I use color in my drawings, so everything on the screen is a color.
There are infinite variations in skin tones alone, and none of them have a name.
I feel the wind, but I don’t think it is a form.
The wind is something you can feel, but it is expressed in form and color.
The painting smells like an oil painting, but like the title, I chose this name because I wanted to appeal to the imagination.

-What is the concept behind your work?
I think the characteristic and quality of my paintings lies in the “richness of the sense of life and the gradation of light.
The concept is to concentrate on making the most of it.
Whether it is a human being, a cat, or an indoor space such as a studio, what is the season of the picture?
If it is a woman, make sure to convey the beauty of the difference in age.
If it is a cat, make sure that the difference between a domestic cat and a stray can be felt in an instant.


Dazzle, p. 15


-Have you always drawn cats and people?
I had been sketching people since junior high school, using colored pencils and looking at pictures.
By the time I was in the fourth grade, I understood perspective without being taught, and I had the ability to immediately notice the gap between the subject and the picture.
It was not until I became a professional that I painted cats.



Invitation” S3

-I have heard before that you often choose cats and people as motifs because they are easy to project your ideal.
I believe that if I can put it in writing, there is no need to paint.
I am not looking for an ideal in style or composition, nor am I trying to get close to my favorite artists.
When I reconstruct my chosen model on the screen, what I look for is accuracy of form and color, as well as nuance that feels right to my senses.
I feel that by picking up on the beauty of the model, rather than trying to match the model’s form to an ideal of beauty, I am reminded of my own ideal.

-What do you want people to see most in your work?
The delicacy of the work, supported by a sense of life.
I delicately depict the hair and skin, but you can feel the presence of the skeleton and muscles underneath.

The weak and strong things that are inherent in the same life are felt through the depiction.



Pearl” F3

Just applying a fine, clean coat of skin will make it look like a wax doll or a china doll.
the result will be like wax dolls or ceramics.
In reality, human beings are very delicate and fragile.
Even the whitest skin is warm to the touch, rough to the touch, and breathes.
I try to reaffirm these things that we take for granted, and at the same time express them in a way that still has beauty.


-When did you decide to become an artist?
After I entered art school as a second-year student, I had been struggling with the idea of becoming an artist.
I thought, “What if I don’t have any talent?
By the time I was in my late 20s, I had almost given up.
At the age of 27, I had my first opportunity to paint in my own way, and I felt a glimmer of light.
After that, I continued basic sketching all the way up to my late 30s.
Through an introduction from a senior colleague, I had the opportunity to become a professional artist.
I can draw any motif thanks to the fact that I continued to do serious sketching.


-Do you still continue sketching today?
Every time I paint in oil, I proceed without a preliminary sketch.
I do sketches in colors, so it’s not a black-and-white, light-and-dark drawing.


-What was the first time you had the opportunity to paint in your own way?
I was born left-handed, but was corrected to be right-handed.
I painted with my right hand when I applied to art school and even after graduation.


I despaired that my paintings were boring and looked dead, and all I could think about was breaking my brush.
But one day, at the age of 27, I encountered Klee’s words, “I will not paint with my right hand, which is dirty with letters,” and for the first time in my life I tried painting with my left hand.
At first, my hand shook and I was sweaty, but even though I was not very good at it, there were tasteful nuances in the picture, and I felt a glimmer of light.
By the time three months had passed, I had improved considerably, and my paintings began to have a sense of life.
After one year, I noticed that the same thing was visible on the screen even when I painted with my right hand.
I think it was not a matter of my dominant hand, but that my brain was activated and I became mentally stronger.
Since then, I have painted with both hands, but basically my right hand is in charge of difficult depictions.


-What made you choose oil painting?
I chose oil painting because it allows me to add light from a darkened area, rather than watercolor, which leaves the bright areas untouched.
I like oil painting because it allows me to add light to the darkened areas.


-What is your main concern in your technique?
I am clumsy, so I don’t make small adjustments.
I stick to the exact color and shape.
If I do so, the result is more effective on the screen than I expected.
What I value is “nuance” backed up by accuracy.
Correctness alone is not enough to achieve beauty.


-What is your production process?
It is quite simple.
I don’t like the softness of the canvas, so I apply a base coat of gesso on the panel.
No tracing, no underpainting, and I proceed all at once.

Screenshot 2020-02-09 at 17.00.35
While making a rough line with a brown ochre, we will make an estimate of the composition that should be created.
I proceed while taking into consideration the balance with the margins and the direction of the eye.
This is the most boring state from someone else’s point of view, but at this point, the direction of the composition is decided.
My mind is fully occupied.

Screenshot 2020-02-09 at 17.00.59

Van Dyke Brown, Light Red, and White are also added to the modeling.
Compared to the finished drawing, the eyes, eyebrows, and lips are out of place.
Some people trace from photographs or drawings in order to reduce waste.
However, it is impossible to create a “living” expression.
It is through hesitation and choices that better results are born, and charms that you did not even realize you had are brought out.
It is through hesitation and choices that better results can be achieved and charms that even you did not realize can be brought out.

Screenshot 2020-02-09 at 17.01.14

The relationship between the eyes and nose, and the size of the shape, is the first thing to be decided.
The size of the eyes and nose are small in relation to the whole, but once this is decided, all the rest can be predicted.
the rest of the process can be predicted.

Screenshot 2020-02-09 at 17.04.00

Describing Hands
Faces are easier to draw than one might think if one has a certain understanding of the form.
In this work, the hands are in the shadows, but I am always nervous about how to depict them.

Screenshot 2020-02-09 at 17.04.13

White Variations
White eyes, skin highlights, wall color, costume, while painting each part of the overall
light is also noted.
Screenshot 2020-02-09 at 17.04.35
Focusing on the face, the palette will increase in color and density.
At the same time, we will increase brightness in other areas.
Screenshot 2020-02-09 at 17.04.50
At this stage, the general shape has been determined. 

Stick to precision.
If we pursue a typical beauty, we will eventually get stuck in a rut.
Even the same person can change in many ways, depending on the angle, the way the light hits them, and their expression.
We continue to be amazed, moved, and tormented by these one-time changes and nuances, just like children.


However, we do not place importance on numerical accuracy.

If there is no beauty that I feel, I don’t like it.

Even if you draw accurately, it is not enough to make it beautiful.
In the case of cats, the difference between a domestic cat and a stray cat; in the case of models, the difference in skin tones of each person.
In the case of a cat, the difference between a domestic cat and a stray cat.
In the case of cats, there is the difference between a domestic cat and a stray cat, and in the case of models, the difference between the skin tone of each person.
In a solo exhibition, the differences will become clear.

Screenshot 2020-02-09 at 17.06.33
We will increase the accuracy.
At this point, consider the title and decide on inspiration.
I try to avoid descriptive titles and choose ones that appeal to the viewer’s imagination. I try to choose a title that appeals to the viewer’s imagination.



In this work, the shimmering light of the western sun and the mysterious feeling of the eyes brought to mind the word “tremolo”.
To live up to the title, I focused on delicacy, not fineness.
The model was very pleased when she saw the finished work.


-How do you decide on the models?
We are always looking for models, but we are looking for natural behavior and facial expressions.

Unlike photographs, this is a medium that people stare at for a long time, so I look for naturalness, not eccentricity.

Thank you, Professor. Nakagami!
The solo exhibition will be held from March 6 (Fri.) to 15 (Sun.).
He will be at the exhibition on the first two days, March 6 and 7.

Please take this opportunity to visit the exhibition.

Oil Painting Exhibition by Seisho Nakagami – Colors of Light, Scent of Wind
Friday, March 6 – Sunday, March 15
Venue: Gallery Seek
Artist:Masaaki Nakagami
Artist Visits: Friday, March 6 – Saturday, March 7, 13:00-17:00 each day

Born in 1961, Seisho Nakagami is an oil painter active mainly in Kansai area. He regards realistic paintings as “proof of life” in the form of pictures, and creates his works as an irreplaceable moment when the model breathes and adds to the work. This is his first solo exhibition at Gallery Seek, and we hope you will enjoy his 10 or so new works.



Seisho Nakagami

Seisho Nakagami

Nakagami Seisho (b. 1961) paints motifs of people and cats with a sense of life and rich gradation of light. What is the season captured on that screen? If it is a woman, I want to convey the beauty of the difference in age. If it is a cat, I want the viewer to feel the difference between a domestic cat and a stray cat in an instant. By capturing everything on the screen in color, the work appeals to the viewer’s imagination and expresses the color of light and even the scent of the wind, although in reality it only smells like an oil painting. Born left-handed, Seisho Nakagami was corrected to be right-handed in his childhood and painted with his right hand until his late twenties. However, when he encountered Klee’s words, “I will not paint with my right hand, which is stained with letters,” he tried painting with his left hand for the first time in his life, and found that it added nuance to his paintings and gave them more life. After that, I repea