#33 Miwa Komatsu

Miwa is a professional Japanese modern artist.

Born and raised in Nagano with rich nature and various animals, she has made art works with the theme of her unique views on life and death from

the animals that she encountered when she was little. Receiving reviews of praise for “49 Days”, a copper engraving that was made when she was in college, led her to become a professional artist. She is renowned as an artist who added her statue of lion dogs by Arita porcelain to the permanent collection of the British Museum in 2015. Her picture, made at her event in New York in 2016, was recently purchased by the World Trade Center as a symbol of world peace.

Photo: (c) Miwa Komatsu official website

Interview with Miwa Komatsu

– What made you decide to become a painter?


I inherited a special power that enables me to see lion dogs called koma inu in Japanese or unique animals, which you can see in my drawings, and I have had amiable feelings to them since I was little. When I was little I enjoyed drawing these unreal animals together with existing animals that I found on books. Nagano prefecture, where I grew up, is known for many boutique museums and I grew up being exposed to the genuine arts at these museums, which my mother took me out to. So since I was young, I thought pictures were drawn for public display, and I was dreaming of having my art pieces shown at museums. On address books at museums where I visited, I often wrote my dream; that I wanted to be a painter when I grew up.

– What part of art fascinates you the most?


Recently I’m very interested in creatures that were depicted in music and art pieces in the old days. I think people back then were able to see more objects than we do now, and they expressed what they saw in their arts. It helped to release the souls of these animals. In this sense, I believe art was more than just a display in the past.

When I see great pictures or meet talented artists, I feel my soul is refreshed. Pictures give us an opportunity to take our soul and minds to a next level through their power of showing us more than what was portrayed. This is what I really like in the art.

– How do you come up with the unique ideas of your art works?


Meditation helps my work and I have a meditation space at my workplace in Tokyo. My art essentially depicts lion dogs that I saw at shrines when I was little, or fairies or holy animals around mountains that I encountered outside of Japan.

When I went abroad to small urban cities with parks and nature in them, I found fairies that pretended to be humans came by. In most cases, they stared at me with big eyes. This led me to think these symbolic eyes help pure features to get away from evils. That’s why I have emphasized the eyes of animals in my pictures. Also, in the foreign countries that I have visited, I learned interesting histories of the mixture of various religions, which affected the holy creatures living there. By intentionally having them in my drawing I sometimes felt my souls were relieved. So in my drawings you can enjoy the mixture of what I have included o