‘Amabie Twisted’ by E. E. Kono
Artist: E.E. Kono
Title: ‘Amabie Twisted’
Medium: Egg tempera on gesso panel
Dimensions: 10″ x 8″
Framing: 15″ x 13″ x 1.5″
Year of Creation: 2021
About the Artwork:
Amabie is an auspicious yokai that emerged from the ocean near Japan in the mid-19th c. She predicted six years of good harvests followed by a wave of pandemics, but she explained that if one displays her image, she’ll ward off disease. I began a series of paintings with my version of Amabie’s image in 2020. ‘Amabie Twisted’ (2021) shows Amabie amidst pinecones, carrying a torc. A torc is a large rigid neck ring often made from strands twisted together that represent a source of power and riches. Pinecones contain a Fibonacci spiral and often represent the pineal gland, said to be humanities ‘third eye’ and symbolic of enlightenment.
E. E. Kono practices the old master technique of egg tempera painting. Tempera paintings are treasured for their unique luster, jewel-like colors, and linear qualities. Each color used in the paintings is created on the palette by combining natural powdered pigments and organic egg yolk binder. The paint is applied to traditional gesso panels in a process that requires hundreds of semi-transparent brushstrokes layered one on top of another. The nature of the technique means that it can take several weeks to complete even the smallest piece but gives the colors a vibrancy that, when cared for, will last hundreds of years.
About the Artist:
E.E. Kono is a Los Angeles based artist using pre-Renaissance techniques to explore how ideas and symbols cross and evolve between cultures and through time. Her imagery is often influenced by nature and a close connection to the sea. She has a BA in art history from the University of Iowa and studied art history at the University of Hull in England. Exhibits include group shows at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Riverside Art Museum, Gallery 825 and Modern Eden. Kono is also an award-winning author/illustrator and has published over a dozen picture books. Her clientele includes top trade publishers and national magazines.