Calligraphy’s beauty lies in the energy behind each stroke, and performances that show the motion of the brush bring to light one of the art form’s normally hidden aspects. Mami, a calligraphy artist from Japan, figured this out years ago, and her live calligraphy shows, performed in a kimono, pay tribute to the movement inherent in this tradition.
The idea for calligraphy performances came to her in a very unexpected way. “I was really drawn to the way rappers and DJs were able to express themselves within a culture they liked,” Mami explains. “I wanted to do calligraphy, but I wanted to do it like them. In those days , live painting was just starting to take root in Japanese clubs, so I rode that wave.”
Hip hop’s appeal for her runs even deeper, since graffiti plays an important role in her style. “I’ve liked hip hop since I was 12, and found the graffiti on CD jackets fascinating. And when I was 16, some graffiti suddenly appeared on the road between my house and my calligraphy class. I felt very close to graffiti then,” she recalls. It didn’t take long for her to start drawing a line between them, so to speak.
嘻哈文化对她的影响相当深远，在她的创作中经常出现涂鸦艺术的踪迹。 “从12岁开始，我就很喜欢嘻哈音乐，常常着迷于 CD 封套上的各种涂鸦。当我 16 岁时，在我家和书法课之间的路上突然出现了一些涂鸦，我觉得我和涂鸦又拉近了距离。” 没过多久，她就开始自己动手涂鸦了。
Mami is part of a worldwide network of “calligraffiti” artists who bring together street art and calligraphy. Many of them, like her, developed their styles individually, only later realizing there was a global scene. A couple of years ago, a book titled The Art of Writing Your Name attempted to bring this nebulous scene together, and it featured Mami within its pages.
Mami 是“书法涂鸦”（calligraffiti）的全球网络成员之一，他们将街头艺术和书法结合在一起。这其中很多人都发展出了自己独特的风格，后来才意识到它具有一种全球性，Mami 也是如此。几年前，一本名为《The Art of Writing Your Name》的书试图将全球书法涂鸦这些界限模糊的场景融合在一起，Mami 也是其中受访报道的一位。
Her interest in art began very early on. “I started noticing that I could make others happy with the pictures I drew when I was only four years old,” she says. Before age ten, she was already doing calligraphy, which her parents and teachers introduced to her. She went on to study the history of calligraphy at university.
Mami 对艺术的热爱很早就开始了。“当我只有四岁的时候，我就发现我可以让别人对我的画感到满意。”她说。经由她父母和老师给她介绍，Mami 在十岁之前就已经开始学书法了。在大学里，Mami 继续学习了书法史。
Despite her love for the rebellious nature of hip hop and graffiti, Mami has a clear appreciation for tradition. When speaking on the topic, she’s downright poetic: “Tradition is a tree. Its roots don’t change, but as its age-rings multiply, its branches split and its leaves scatter. I would love for my work to become a part of that tree.”
尽管 Mami 热爱叛逆感十足的嘻哈和涂鸦，但她依然喜欢传统文化。谈到这个话题时，她非常有诗意地说道：“传统是一棵树。它的根是不变的。但当它的年轮一圈圈往上增长，树的枝干会裂开，叶子也散开了。我希望我的工作能成为那棵树的一部分。”
Contributor: Mike Steyels
供稿人: Mike Steyels