Illustrative painter Alice Tye on capturing the natural beauty of Japan

Joining us as the first speaker at April’s Nicer Tuesdays was London-based painter, Alice Tye. With her signature illustrative style, Alice recasts photographs as paintings, creating compositions which linger on single, transient moments captured on her camera. Her talk focused on a recent series of paintings exhibited earlier this year at Mother’s Redchurch Street offices titled Mono No Aware, a project which came out of a three-week trip to Japan in spring of 2017.

During her talk, Alice discussed some of her commercial work for clients like Salon Magazine, The Guardian and LVMH, as well as some of her self-initiated projects, before taking the audience on a journey to Japan, through Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. She told us that many of the paintings from her trip came out of chance encounters and experiences – the view from Momosuke Bridge, captured while waiting for a train, and a glimpse down one of Kyoto’s tiny streets from a spontaneous exploration of the city by foot. It’s unplanned moments like that, she said, that allow her to observe “details that [she] might have missed otherwise”. As Alice stated, “the best shots and experiences are often the bits that are in between the plans.”

Visiting at the beginning of sakura (cherry blossom) season, Alice was struck by the cultural “craze” around those first appearances of blossom on the trees. As she said, the title Mono No Aware (meaning “the pathos of things”) comes from the cultural understanding of sakura as the epitome of ephemeral beauty. But it was often the urban and industrial that most fascinated Alice – “I’ve got a bit of a thing about car parks,” she told us.

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