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The Wabi-Sabi Ikebana Series

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The Wabi-Sabi Ikebana Series

Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic which features impermanence and imperfection. A western interpretation could be rustic elegance. Although wabi-sabi is much more than an aesthetic, it is mysterious and difficult to define. Accord ing to Leonard Koren, author of Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, “wabi- sabi can in its fullest expression be a way of life.” (Stone Bridge Press, Berkeley). Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging, which westerners might interpret as understated elegance.
I find many ikebana arrangements stark and simple, yet rich and beautiful. Presented more for contemplation than filling a room with scent and color, they often invoke a somber mood with a touch of reverence. In art wabi-sabi presents a vehicle for staying in the moment, with a willing release of perfection and complete acceptance of the result.

All of the work in this series came from the first two versions of Wabi-Sabi Ikebana, which were repeatedly layered and distorted in different ways to create new versions. With over 200 images in the series, it is impossible to show everything. I like to work with several files open at once, sharing information between them. The pieces evolve both independently and in unison with each other. Another tactic I take at times is to open an older piece of artwork and combine it in some way with something else, which also happened with this series. A larger selection of the series and a description of the evolution can be found in the portfolio book The Wabi-Sabi Ikebana Series: A Study of Impermanence available on

This work was made entirely from fingerprints, using PhotoShop. First a gesture is captured on a scanner. The result is used as source material to create new compositions, essentially fingerprints used as patches of paint. A short demonstration can be found at