Wuon-Gean Ho Interviewed for Beyond Japan Podcast
In March 2022 Wuon-Gean Ho was interviewed by Oliver Moxham, of the University of East Anglia, about her background in Japanese woodblock printmaking and how that informs her current research in the University of West of England at the Centre for Print Research. Wuon-Gean received a Japanese Government Scholarship to study woodblock printing in 1998, and, via a chance set of experiences, including membership of an elite swim team, learned what it means to keep on trying, even if the end goal might not be particularly clear nor easy to reach.
Oliver Moxham, podcast host, compared this experience to the challenges of academia.
“I think that many academics suffer from imposter syndrome and there’s this pressure to be the most prolific writer of articles or be at the cutting edge of research. But you have to check yourself and say that ‘I’m contributing. I’m doing something I love, and that’s needs to be enough’, you know?”
Wuon-Gean agrees, “We have to be open to maybe something unexpected coming up in our research and thinking, ‘Okay, well, that wasn’t what I expected, but I might have to go along that path and see whether it takes me somewhere new.’”
Wuon-Gean also talks about her personal printmaking practice, including the reversals and duality in the relief print technique, where everything that will remain white has to be carved away, and ink is applied to the surface of the block. She says,
“I’m fascinated by mirrors and windows because I think the print is like a window into another world… I told you about having to reverse everything and everything you carve away is white, not dark, it kind of makes you think on a very metaphoric level, ‘Where does the truth lie? Is it in the thing I keep or is it in the thing that I eliminate?’
Wuon-Gean’s current research is on capturing and conveying elements of tacit knowledge in relief printmaking processes, including quantifying hitherto unquantified printing techniques such as Goma-zuri or sesame seed effect. She also talks on the hybrid approach to old and new printing technologies she experienced in her time studying at Kyoto Seika University. This hybrid approach to old and new technology is exactly what the Centre for Print Research has at its heart.
Header Image credits:
Lockdown Chop (detail) (2020) by Wuon-Gean Ho. Linocut and monoprint, 15 x 20 cm.
Picture of Wuon-Gean Ho with Akira Kurosaki in 2000.
No Lake View No Cake (detail) (2021) by Wuon-Gean Ho. Linocut and monoprint, 15 x 20 cm