The task of Japanese artist Ikeda Manabu is seemingly impossible: a blank paper canvas larger than a person spread before him, a small acrylic pen in his hand, and hundreds of days to fill with faintly imperceptible progress from a mind brimming with explosive creativity. Manabu works in areas measuring roughly 4″ square, spending eight hours a day, often for years, on a single drawing that can eventually dominate an entire wall. Traditional Japanese architecture clashes with giant mangled tree roots, while swarms of birds and fish dart through the water or atmosphere in a complete visual cacophony that somehow results in a single cohesive image. The most unbelievable aspect being that Manabu has no idea what the final artwork will look like, but instead explores each work organically from day to day as he progresses inch by inch.
Manabu’s most recent work, Meltdown, which explores the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake was recently on view at the West Vancouver Museum, and next month will embark on a 10 by 13 foot panel in Madison, Wisconsin which the artist estimates will take upward of three years to complete.