KIDO Press, Inc. opened its doors in downtown Tokyo in 2002—an area known for its rich history of Japanese woodblock printing. It was home to the leading medieval artists (including Hokusai, Utamaro, and Hiroshige), and was at the very heart of the “UKIYOE (floating world)” culture that inspired their art. It this historic and traditional printmaking district that KIDO Press produces and publishes prints made with traditional techniques from Western printmaking: intaglio and lithography.
Hitoshi Kido, Director of KIDO Press, served as a master printer at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE) for many years. While there, he was heavily involved in the production of prints together with iconic artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. He participated in major projects including Johns’s Seasons series and Rauschenberg’s Soviet/American Array series.
The first works he produced at KIDO Press were with Yoshitomo Nara. The two had become acquainted with each other during their studies at the same university, and Nara energetically created many pieces, both intaglios and lithographs, at KIDO Press.
John Currin immersed himself in production during a stay of a little over two weeks in Japan in 2003, and finished two intaglios. He subsequently became absorbed in printing, and set up an etching press in his studio in New York. Kido often visited this studio and collaborated with him in production activities. Among the creations born of this collaboration was a portfolio Mile Stone.
Terry Winters was similarly energetic and focused – producing a portfolio of 11 lithographic prints Tokyo Notes and the color lithograph Composite in 2005. An ardent admirer of Japanese culture, Winters uses handmade Japanese washi paper for all of his works, and his folder for prints also has a design referencing the tato paper traditionally used to wrap Japanese kimono. In addition, the ink sealing the portfolio is the same vermillion hue traditionally used by Japanese artists.
A photographer active around the world, Yuki Onodera produced six photogravures in 2008 from Portrait of Second-hand Clothes, an acclaimed series from early in her career.
Using copper plates made by photogravure and blue Japanese gampi paper, she printed the foreground and background separately, in two shades of dark grey. Her prints on quality Japanese washi feature deep, mellow tones and a refined luster. Although they bear the same image as a photograph, printing results in articulation of a world-view utterly different from that appearing in photos.
While incorporating a photography-based platemaking process, Kiki Smith creates portfolio ” Puppetry ” with photopolymer (solar) plate, a completely different technique which is capable of application for both relief and intaglio printing. Smith utilizes it to get printed layers intermediate to the two, and succeeds in deriving faint tones that are otherwise difficult to obtain with printing.
A promising young female artist, Kumi Machida uses traditional Indian ink on Japanese washi for her original works. In her production of prints, she trades her calligraphy brush for an etching needle, and engraves lines into a hard ground. She manages to create distinctive patterns by a process of repeated intervals of corrosion, each lasting only a few seconds.
Atsuhiko Misawa is a young sculptor and popular artist who stages exhibitions in museums throughout Japan. Almost all of the ten works making up his Bear series apply a lithostone process. The soft tone and look of drenching ink adsorption that are the hallmarks of lithostone clearly support the expression in these pieces.
KIDO Press is going to continue taking up the challenge of artistic production with uncompromising quality through innovative and inspiring collaboration with many talented artists from around the world.
View prints by KIDO Press HERE.