╳ Hiroyuki Doi

Born 1946 in Nagoya, Japan, Hiroyuki Doi has been working as an artist in Japan for the past thirty years; and since the unfortunate death of his younger brother 20 years ago, he has been working on pieces that express the transmigration of the soul, cosmos and human cells using pen and ink on the Japanese papers called ‘washi’.

Washi, developed from the traditional Chinese paper-making process, is a type of paper made in Japan and is commonly made using fibres from the bark of the Gampi tree, the Mitsumata shrub or the paper Mulberry; but also can be made using bamboo, hemp, rice and wheat. Its name comes from ‘wa’ meaning Japanese and ‘shi’ meaning paper, and the term is used to describe paper made by hand in the traditional manner. Generally tougher than ordinary paper made from wood pulp, it is used in many traditional arts such as Origami (paper folding), Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) and Ukiyo-e (a genre of Japanese woodblock prints or woodcuts).

Traditionally overlooked, works from ‘Outsider’ artists, such as Hiroyuki Doi, are now gaining more recognition and being afforded the credit they deserve. The late 1940s saw the first rumblings of appreciation for what is now termed ‘Outsider’ Art—works created by non-academically trained artists who operate apart from the cultural mainstream and its art-historical canon. The term ‘Outsider Art’ was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972, as an English synonym for art brut (‘raw art’ or ‘rough art’) a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture, and typically, those labeled as outsider artists have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions, and in many cases, their work is discovered only after their deaths.

Doi San’s work is not only exquisitely sensitive and intricate, but ripe with sentiment so tender that it brings tears to your eyes. In his own words he further explains his philosophy: “Now that we are living in the age of computerised society, I believe human work using human hands has to be emphasised more. That's one of my reasons, why I keep on working on my new works. By drawing, I started to feel relief, at some point I started to feel that something other then my self allowed me to draw these works. Suppose every creature is a circle, which exists in this world, how many of them can I draw? That is my life work and my challenge. I have to keep on working, otherwise nothing will be brought in to existence. By drawing circles I feel I am alive and existing in the cosmos.”