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Mikio Watanabe completed his studies in Tokyo in 1977 and settled in Paris, where he learned engraving techniques at the Atelier 17. Since 1981he has focused on mezzotint and his works can be found in many public collections including Bibliotheque National in Paris, the Central Academy of Art, Kuala Lumpur and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Watanabe is one of of the pre-eminent mezzotint artists in the world today. When most people first see his work, they immediately assume they are photographs. He creates a mezzotint by making thousands of tiny "divots" in a copper plate using a sort of rounded chisel with a serrated edge called a rocker. He then inks the plate and presses it down on to the paper to create an image. It's an incredibly time consuming process which is one of the reasons it has become somewhat of a lost art.
Watanabe sometimes spends one hundred or more hours on a single plate, and usually does edition sizes of approximately 75 prints. The results are amazing, with soft, silk-like images that have an astonishing level of detail.
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