The Art of Shinjo Ito
Throughout his life, Shinjo Ito pursued expression of his artistic inclinations through a variety of mediums. Building on his early interest in portraiture and photography, Shinjo matured into a skilled sculptor both of Buddhist icons and of portrait busts. Browse here a curated collection of some of Shinjo’s best work, with descriptive explanations and dates given for each.
Shinjo Ito’s sculptures reveal his awareness of Buddhist art traditions of the past, yet convey a closeness and intimacy that places his figures comfortably in communion with contemporary audiences.
Shinjo excelled at sculpting bust portraits to commemorate friendship or close association with senior priests, acquaintances, friends, and family members. Shinjo’s busts capture the love, respect, and admiration he felt for his subjects.
Calligraphy and Engravings
Shinjo’s fluid and spontaneous calligraphy and carefully executed engravings capture his state of mind as expressed in the strokes of kanji characters. Shinjo innovated on tradition to imbue his work with a spirit and vitality that speaks to modern sensibilities.
In his reliefs, Shinjo applies sculptural discipline to subjects that are traditionally portrayed pictorially in Buddhist art. Shinjo invests a realistic humanity into his figures and plays with elements like clouds and flower petals.
Photography and Drawings
Apart from sculpture, Shinjo also created works of photography, hand drawn portraits using conte crayon, and studies of religious icons with inks, paints, and brushes. Luckily some examples of his work in such media have also been preserved for our enjoyment.