Takeshi Ohgushi is a Japanese artist known for his contemporary brush and ink Bijin-ga (portraits of beautiful women). He has painted for brands throughout the world including Clinique, Emlio Pucci, Kanebo, Lancome, Lanvin, and Shiseido.
Born in 1977, Ohgushi began painting with calligraphy brushes and ink when he was 21 years old. He drew an ink and wash picture of a woman and enjoyed it so profoundly that he pursued the technique head first. When he was 23 years old, Ohgushi reached out to one of his biggest influences, illustrator Miyuki Morimoto. He sent her a book of his printed works, to which she kindly wrote back. Ohgushi meet Morimoto several times, he learned from her and credits her in his development as an artist.
Ohgushi works with sumi ink on Japanese paper, regularly painting live on a large canvas. He works quickly and precisely, using traditional techniques associated with Japanese calligraphy. He recognises that the work he creates is illustration but prefers to call himself an artist. Therefore, he is constantly trying to strike a balance between his work and the commissioning brand.
“Traditional [Japanese] art focuses more on the skills and technique. I hope to impress the audience by showing emotions in my paintings”
When Ohgushi originally developed his Bijin-ga technique, he was conscious of comparison. Once his work was garnering recognition, and his technique began to define his work, he considered continuing without change. However, after experimenting with a new technique, which he calls Particles, he found he was able to express more aspects of his personality. A halfway point between abstract and figurative, his poetic Particles paintings permit water and gravity to form the image. Ohgushi’s Particles technique has been embraced by big brands including McCafé and Isetan. Nowadays, Ohgushi pays no attention to others, instead, focuses on enjoying his own artistic evolution.