Aoi Yamaguchi’s Calligraphy Is Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen

Aoi Yamaguchi’s calligraphy art is much more than simply writing on a piece of paper – it’s a sort of ritual, a performance that requires an audience. Her work explores the ways in which traditional Eastern techniques communicate with contemporary artistic expressions, transforming the two-dimensional art of Japanese Calligraphy into the art of physical expression through performances.

Born and raised in Hokkaido, Japan, Yamaguchi has been trained under Master Zuiho Sato since at the age of 6. As a small child, she loved drawing, writing stories, and anything to do with paper, paints, pencils, pens, and using her hands. She was also drawn to nature and enjoyed exploring the woods, hiking in the mountains, walking into the river, and playing with snow.

“Around 5-6 years old, I made a series of picture books with my illustrations and my little fantasy stories; about this bear exploring the forest, flying on the cloud, traveling around the world,” she shared with The Design Kids. “I remember bringing the book I made to the calligraphy school and showing it to Master Sato. My childhood dream was to become a novel writer.”

Currently based in Berkeley, California, Yamaguchi is celebrated for her calligraphy art which she performs and exhibits in galleries, museums, universities, and festivals in the United States, across Europe, and in Japan.

Watching her go is a mesmerizing experience, granted.