For today’s Thoughtful Thursday, we turn to Ikeda Manabu and his incredibly intricate masterpiece, Rebirth. This extraordinary interpretation of the natural world is the type of artwork that we love to see in our annual Stormy Weather exhibit – take a moment to get inspired for your own entry, by December 28!

Fueled by a desire to interpret Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011, Ikeda worked on this 13 x 10 foot pen and ink drawing for 10 hours a day inside a basement studio at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin. He infused a dynamic and detailed piece with traditional Japanese artistic methods, creating a piece that is both beautiful and haunting.

Rebirth, 2016. Pen & ink, 13 x 10′ (300 x 100cm). Courtesy the Chazen Museum of Art.

Every single inch of the piece is meticulously crafted, which makes the fact that he does not plan out his large-scale pieces even more incredible. Instead, Ikeda devotes attention to each of the small segments that he works on, allowing the composition as a whole to unfold organically.

Check out the short video of the creation of the piece, shot by Clayton Adams ( and Brad Cisewski – and make sure you watch to the end to see Ikeda’s reaction to seeing the completed piece hung for the first time!

We hope you’re as inspired by this work as we are!


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