Annette Makino has spent the last few years developing a new artistic style. The local artist, well known for her range of Makino Studios greeting cards, prints and calendars, now makes Asian-inspired collages accompanied by quirky haikus.
“After 10 years of working with Japanese watercolors and sumi ink, and making quite representative paintings, I was interested in exploring something new,” Makino said. “I did some research online about Japanese mixed media and came across a few collages that spoke to me. It turned out that one of the artists I really liked, Donna Watson, was giving a workshop of three days entitled “Wabi Sabi: the spirit of collage”.
In February 2020, Makino flew to Tucson for this workshop, which she said was quite inspiring.
“Just a month later, the pandemic ended life as we knew it and my art business Makino Studios slowed to a trickle,” Makino said. “Although stressful, it gave me the unexpected gift of free time and less pressure to keep creating work in the style my clients expected. So I was able to get into experimenting with collage, with the Tucson workshop as a starting point.
Makino’s new collage pieces are on display in September in a solo show, “Torn Together,” at Just My Type Letterpress Paperie, 235 F St., Eureka. A Living Arts! the reception is fixed on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (wearing a mask is strongly encouraged inside the store.)
“This is my first show in four years, and I’m excited to share my new work with the community,” Makino said. “I love the process of collecting interesting papers, painting them and tearing them up and turning them into beautiful natural scenes.
“Nature … is a constant source of inspiration,” she said. “I especially love the landscapes and animals of Northern California, especially Humboldt County. I’ve created collages featuring Roosevelt elk, coho salmon, foxes, and owls, among other creatures You’ll also find ocean scenes, redwood forests, oak trees, and blackberry vines.
Makino says that due to her Japanese heritage and having spent time in Japan as a child and later in life, the Japanese aesthetic really speaks to her on a deep level.
“I say my work is Asian-inspired for several reasons. It includes washi papers from Japan and Thailand and other papers found in Japan, like vintage handwritten letters or postage stamps,” she said. “Some of my subjects are traditionally Japanese, like cherry blossoms, a red bridge, or paper lanterns. Each piece is finished with my red seal. And I write a haiku that accompanies each piece or is placed directly on the art, following a traditional Japanese art form called haiga.
In collage, she says, the most time-consuming part of the job is actually creating the papers.
“All my papers start out white, then I paint, print or embellish them using lightfast acrylics,” Makino says. “A given sheet can have multiple layers of colors and patterns. I use rice paper, washi paper with embedded organic bits, old letters, maps, book pages, canceled checks, and even junk mail.
“Some of my tools are brayers, gel press plates and brushes,” she said. “I make prints from objects like sheets, paper towel rolls or crinkle aluminum foil. Occasionally I will incorporate pencil, charcoal, crayon or ink I have also made pieces that include found objects like feathers, willow buds or buttons.
Once she has all her papers ready, Makino says she carefully tears them into the desired shapes and glues them together to create her artwork.
“There’s a lot of trial and error in this phase,” Makino said, adding that each collage is mounted on a cradled birch wood panel.
In addition to its new collage work, Makino is still producing cards and has 10 new designs coming off the press in a few weeks.
“I choose a few collages that I think might be successful as cards — in some cases I modify the art — then I find words suitable for occasions like birthdays or condolences,” Makino said. , whose book “Water and Stone: Ten Years of Art and Haiku,” was recently honored by the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Awards.
For more information, visit makinostudios.com.