Cultural Observations and a Conversation about Drawing by a Wandering Artist

In: Intercultural Mirrors


I became aware at an early age how difficult it can be to adapt to another culture and lifestyle. We have an image of ourselves, but is that who we really are? What happens when that image disintegrates? Who are we then? How do others perceive us when we no longer fit the image they had of us? I have taught drawing workshops to hundreds of people from many countries for over 25 years. In a way, entering the world of drawing is like traveling in another country. Drawing changes one’s perceptions, and students experience a kind of culture shock.

When I started writing this chapter, I didn’t expect to focus on drawing as much as I did, but along the way, I realised how much I owe to drawing as a powerful tool of perception. Drawing has taught me many things about life, culture and, especially, the way we perceive and process information. Almost everyone hits a wall in the process of their drawing. I also hit many walls even while teaching people to draw. Still after all these years, living in Japan continuously pushes me and teaches me surprising things about myself.