Mezzotint Prints: Naoto Abe
Naoto Abe was born in 1952 in Shiokawa-cho, Fukushima Prefecture and graduated from Kitakata Senior High School. At age 18 when Naoto later moved to Tokyo to attend university in the 1970’s, strong anti-American, anti-government rhetoric in the wake of the US-Japan Security Alliance Treaty revisions was an inescapable topic among his peers who were regularly involved in a number of large-scale political rallies throughout the capital city. Emotionally and spiritually exhausted in this environment, Naoto found himself spending less time at school and with his fellow students, and more time secluded in libraries steeped in literature and art.
It was during this time of isolation and study that Naoto discovered poet, artist, and critic Shuzo Takiguchi (1903 - 1979) who’s books on art criticism inspired Naoto to seek out art exhibitions and music performances, and ultimately, this lead to his formative encounter with mezzotint printmaking. Shortly thereafter, Naoto left his university and began studying copperplate printing techniques in earnest at the Tokyo Print Institute. Following a short period of formal study there, Naoto Abe then honed his craft through rigid self study for over 30 years. Naoto's masterful style of mezzotint printing possesses a uniquely mysterious quality and his motifs often explore problems of human nature.