The Scars of Inspiration

March 24(fri.)2023-July 9(sun.)2023



‘When he decides he wants to paint, the picture is as good as finished.’ So said Toshiko Okamoto.


The usual process artists employ when creating a picture is to draw numerous esquisses as they gradually develop their concept, but Taro took the opposite approach. Once he felt the urge to paint, an image of the finished work already existed in his head.


To put it another way, he did not simply feel a vague desire to paint or to paint for its own sake, regardless of the subject. In fact he wrote the following on the subject:


‘From the outset I feel inspired to express “a particular thing.” It is not just a desire to paint, but to paint “a particular thing.”’ ‘I question myself repeatedly as I work in order to ascertain what exactly that “particular thing” is.’


That is why Taro painted the same subject numerous times. He was not trying to work out what to paint, rather he kept painting the same thing in an effort to capture its finished form—to ‘more accurately reproduce’ what he saw in his mind. To the casual observer it is difficult to see a difference, but this was the reason why he produced the same work over and over again. Undoubtedly each painting possesses some minute difference but this is imperceptible to us.


Numerous examples of this sort of painting remain on the shelves in his studio. They are not finished works, in fact, I do not know if they can properly be classified as ‘works’ at all, but they provide a valuable insight into Taro’s creative process.


This exhibition will present these ‘Scars of Inspiration’ in order to allow the viewers to experience for themselves the process Taro Okamoto employed in his work. 


Akiomi Hirano


Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum