Shinichi Maruyama

“It is said that a Zen Garden represents in a three dimensional space the spirits of high priests who have achieved enlightenment. The Zen garden is the expression of boundless cosmic beauty in a physical environment, created through intense human concentration, labor and repeated action.

One can attain a feeling of serenity by simply being in the space of a Zen garden. It is its own universe, empowering the visitor to resist temptation, eliminate negative thought, and sever the continuous stream of inessential information emanating from the outside world.

I have tried to represent this feeling I get from Zen gardens in my artwork. Although I am still from those enlightened monks who labor in nature, my actions of repeatedly throwing liquid into the air and photographing the resulting shapes and sculptural formations over and over endlessly could be considered a form of spiritual practice to find personal enlightenment.”

Shinichi Maruyama – Artist Statement

One can not help but agree that there is a feeling of serenity that emanates from Maruyama’s photographs. These images of ink and water colliding in mid air and being captured the millisecond before they become gray is truly enlightened. The mastery required to be able to capture this chemical reaction in a form resembling Japanese Calligraphy or sculpture is truly enlightened.

Photography has been a constant through-out Maruyama’s life, both as a commercial, archival and artistic pursuit. Born in Nagano Japan in 1968 he began his affair with lense by photographing the local mountainous landscape of the region. Maruyama graduated from Chiba University and worked in Tokyo in marketing and advertising. In 2001 Maruyama printed two photobooks chronicling Tibetan life & culture. In 2003 he moved to New York.

It was at this time that he began to develop his signature style of photography. In 2006 he began the “Kusho” series and later the “water sculpture” series which use modern strobe lighting technology to capture water and ink at precise moments in time in forms that resemble calligraphy, sculpture and nature. Many of the shots are taken at 1/750th of a second, capturing something impossible to see with the human eye. Both these series were predominantly black, white and gray with much emphasis given to the effect of light and shadow.

Maruyama’s first real venture in to Colour was the “Garden” series, where he came full circle back to his original artist statement and experimented with the labor of creating the serenity of the Zen Garden and the look of nature using coloured inks and backgrounds to create a true sense of nature.



All Images courtesy of the Artist