1947 - Born in Tokyo
1982 - works first introduced into the Hendricks Art Collection, Ltd.
1985, 1987, 1989 - trips to the United States
1992 - One-Man show, Chiba Prefecture; One-man show, Okinawa
1994- his work was re-introduced into the Hendricks Art Collection, Ltd.
1996 - Tree Scene 60 Plum Tree; Tree Scene 65 Field; Tree Scene 66 Plain; Tree Scene 53A Turquoise King Tree were acquired by the Sackler Museum, Washington, D.C. and The Art Institute of Chicago.
1997 - One-man Show - Hendricks Art Collection, Ltd. Bethesda, Maryland
1997 - Tree Scene Plum Forest; Tree Scene 70 Brilliant Blue Tree; Tree Scene 71 Morning; Tree Scene 73 Burgundy Trees; Tree Scene 74 Lone Tree; Tree Scene 78 Deep Blue Tree were acquired by The Art Institute of Chicago.
1998 - One-Man show - Hendricks Art Collection, Ltd. Bethesda, Maryland
1999 - One-man Show - Hendricks Art Collection, Ltd. Bethesda, Maryland
1999 - Tree Scene 83 Line of Trees and Tree Scene 84 Summer were acquired by the Los Angeles County Art Museum.
1987-1998 - Selected for the CollegeWomen's Print Show, Tokyo, Japan
1998—One-man show, Hendricks Art Collection. Ltd., Bethesda, Md.
Tree Scene 65 Field and Tree Scene 81 Gold-Silver Forest were exhibited in the College Women’s Print Show, Tokyo
1999—One-man show, Hendricks Art Collection, Ltd.—Bethesda, Md.
1999—Scene 83—Line of Trees and Tree Scene 84—Summer were acquired by the Los Angeles County Art Museum,
2000—Tree Scene 81—Silver-Gold Forest; Tree Scene 70—Brilliant Blue; Tree Scene 62—Single Red Tree; Tree Scene 63—Green Pine; Earth 5 were acquired by the New Orleans Museum of Art.
2000—One-man show Hendricks Art Collection, Bethesda, Md.
Fuji 7 was exhibited at the College Women’s Print Show, Tokyo.
2001—Higan Sakura, Fuji 10, Tree Scene 96, Moonlight; Tree Scene 103A and Tree Scene 99—Coral Trees were acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago.
2001—One-man show Hendricks Art Collection, Ltd—Bethesda, Md. Higan Sakura was exhibited at the College Women’s Print Show, Tokyo
2002—Dogwood 1 was exhibited in the College Women’s Print Show.
2003—Usuzumi Cherry Tree at Neodani was exhibited at the CWAJ Show, Tokyo.
2004—Creeping Dragon Cherry Tree and Weeping Cherry Tree were exhibited in the CWAJ Show, Tokyo.
2005—Dogwood 4 was exhibited in the CWAJ Show, Tokyo
2006—Two-man show Joichi Hoshi and Hajime Namiki, Hendrick Art Collection, Ltd. Bethesda, Md.
Kappy Hendricks and her Tokyo-based staff visited Namiki in his home in October, 1996, to learn in greater depth his technique and all aspects of his life and work. After observing him working, the detailed, hard-edge aspect of his work was finally understandable. His technique, which is quite astonishing to watch, was developed by trial and error. One of the most commonly asked questions regarding his work is how he is able to achieve such distinction in the branches. We learned it is achieved by the type of wood he has chosen. The strongly detailed block which you have seen at our shows is cherry wood! This is the type of wood which was used by ukiyoe artists from 1620 to 1895. In the 1700s and 1800s, Japan had a lot of cherry trees, but as more and more were cut down and not replanted, the supply of cherry wood greatly decreased.
Namiki realized a few years ago that in order to achieve the kind of print he wanted, he needed a harder wood. It was at this time that he sought out a source and he has been using it since that time. Because it is expensive, the size of the cherry wood is the size of the image only.He attaches a thin sheet of cherry wood to shina nuki of a larger size. Shina nuki is the type of wood which is used for most modern woodblock prints today. This larger size accomodates the margins of the print as well.
Namiki first makes a design of his image and traces the design onto the block. He carves the block using sharp tools. The carving is difficult due to the hardness of the wood. He begins the printing process. He first prints a color which is oil-based and then applies perfect sheets of 24 carat leaf gold and/or silver. The gold adheres only where the color was applied. The tree itself is blocked out and only the spaces between the branches and the background are printed in gold.
He begins to print the tree itself. In recent works, he has used three or more general blocks for the general outline of the tree. He prints the tree several times using the finely detailed carved block. He prints the darker colors in the deeper crevices and the lighter colors in the shallower ones. He uses a large number of shades of the same color. He does each stage of printing on 30 to 35 prints. He continues with the subsequent stages of printing until the print is completed. He has a lot of energy and can work at a frenetic pace. In the printing process, he must work fast as the oil-based colors dry quickly and are difficult to remove from the block. The blocks are cleaned after each application of color. He does all of his own work with no assistance.
One wonders how long he can continue to work at this pace. But while he can, he is creating some of the most unusual and beautiful works works in Japanese art history.
While he is creating and printing, he is thinking about the oak trees which he saw near Kenosha, Wisconsin where he has visited three different times. He is thinking about their every branch, the way the branches move in the wind, and the field or pasture at their base. He is thinking also about the cedar trees and king trees he has seen near his home in rural Japan.
His home is situated between cultivated fields which yield vegetables and grains, where the soil is rich and fertile. A short distance from his house are groves of trees of many types. The sky is blue, clouds white and fluffy and there is lots of grass and trees. This scene is not all dissimilar to the American Midwest. It is very quiet. There are no sounds of airplanes, trains; only an occasional automobile.
In his most recent works, he is creating landscapes of special beauty; an oak tree on a hillside in a grassy setting. Clouds in the sky dart in and out of the leaf gold. The lush grass in the meadow is printed in a myriad of shades of yellow, beige and gold.
In one sentence, Namiki's work can be summarized in the following way: it is the portrayal of various types of trees by a highly talented Japanese artist using a time-honored technique which is 350 years old.