Art We Love: Umetaro Azechi, art mountaineer

Here’s our first blog post about amazingly good pictures made by nice people.

Umetaro Azechi (畦地梅太郎) was born in a rural part of the island of Shikoku, Japan in 1902.

Mountain man and bird by Umetaro Azechi

Mountain man and bird (via yajifun)

We like his bold blocks of colour and the pared-back, child-like simplicity of his work. His images are inspired by the mountains that he loved to explore and the people who lived in them. His figures look cartoonish and cute, but at the same time a bit spooky as they stare back at you with those big eyes.

A boy and his dog by Umetaro AzechiA boy and his dog (via jaodb)

Umetaro learnt his craft by paying for a correspondence course and then arting away while working on day jobs for a newspaper and a government printing company. Umetaro wrote several books about mountaineering as well as one about woodblock printing. Eventually he managed to quit his day job and focus on his art full time, exhibiting around the world, including at the 1951 São Paulo Art Biennial, alongside other members of the Sōsaku-hanga (creative prints) movement . Apparently he continued to go hiking well into his eighties with his friends. He died aged 97 in 1999.

A European hillbilly by Umetaro AzechiA European hillbilly (via flickr)




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