Wataru Hatano

Wataru Hatano, born in 1971 in Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, is a highly acclaimed craftsman, papermaker and artist.

When studying  Art & Design at Tama University in Tokyo, he came across “washi”, a traditional Japanese paper used as a medium and canvas for oil painting, and was fascinated by its properties and texture.

A few years later, having deep concerns about the overconsumption of mass-produced products and their environmental impact, he decided to learn to lead a sustainable life and to become a paper craftsman, in order to practice its continued tradition and embrace sustainable living. He started to apprentice with the Kurotani Washi Cooperative. The raw materials needed for washi, Kozo (mulberry) trees and fresh water, are readily available in Kurotani. After 20 years in washi production, he opened his own studio and pioneered the use of washi for interior design, to create furniture, wallpaper and flooring, subsequently expanding and enhancing the washi industry.  He also applies to the paper surface other Japanese materials, such as soil, persimmon tannin and oil, in order to obtain additional properties.

He combines a deep craft knowledge and understanding of tradition with a sensitive minimalist approach, creating layered paintings with intricate textures that transform the surrounding space into a meditative environment.

Hatano’s artwork is inspired by the accumulation and the passing of time, nature, and deep darkness, which are found in the textures and layering of the washi, and also in the colors of his paintings. The depth of colors and texture changes depending on the environment, the time and place, bringing awareness of the past and future. He intends to create artworks that offer time and space for stillness, silence, tranquility and self-reflection.

© Portrait : Kunihiro Fukumori.