Takafumi Asakura (1978- ) is a painter who blends into his traditional black ink works a zeitgeist for the 21st century, displaying both the highest levels of craftsmanship whilst experimenting with abstraction and the avant-garde. The young artist wields but a single type of ink and a single type of brush to paint the most intricate of Nihonga-style paintings, with negative space filled entirely with ancient calligraphy, and spiralling beacons of black ink that take on the appearance of mythical beasts or elements of nature. Yet intricacy and technique are ancillary to whether an artist has the sheer power to paint images that can move one’s heart. Asakura’s paintings are mesmerising, swirling abstractions based on both Shinto scripture and the movements within his own soul. At the same time, Asakura consciously chooses to paint on both washi Japanese paper and aluminium leaf. In fact, the artist is the first painter within the world of Japanese painting to ever attempt to paint on aluminium, and it is this progressive nature, the juxtaposition between traditional painting and contemporary materials, which makes Asakura unique. One of the youngest painters to receive two special recognitions at the Nitten Japan Fine Arts Exhibition, the art of Takafumi Asakura has only just begun.