The Blog

“I want to paint as though I were rushing around a battlefield, exerting myself to collapse from exhaustion.” —Kazuo Shiraga

Born in Amagasaki, Japan, in 1924, Kazuo Shiraga (1924– 2008) was a founding member of the Gutai Art Association.

Emerging as one of Gutai’s most prominent members, Shiraga was widely known for his innovative foot painting practice.

Begun in 1954, the artist used his feet to paint powerful and energetic abstract forms on the canvas.

He would set a canvas on the floor of his studio and, suspending his body from a rope hung from the ceiling, push and kick oil paint applied in dynamic strokes over the canvas’ surface.

Mountains of pigment, relics of footprints; this performative practice is visible on the canvas.

Fury, battle, and a warrior-like intensity is apparent, revealing a battle between artist and canvas.

Red like blood. Black like a black hole, a void. Missing in Shiraga’s life until he started painting.

Shiraga swings from rope with feet in his studio c. 1960s. Exerting force.

Look at his feet. Wonder what shoe size he was.

Little warrior man making dreams come true.

The work was inspired by Chinese Water Margins. This dude. Warrior.

Wouldn’t want to piss him off. So Shiraga painted him instead. Shrined it up.