Noda Tetsuya (野田哲也) (Biographical details)

Noda Tetsuya (野田哲也) (printmaker; Japanese; Male; 1940)

Also known as

Noda Tetsuya


Leading contemporary printmaker. Head of the printmaking department at the National University of Fine Arts and Music, Tokyo, until his retirement in 2006. Since the late 1960s, has titled his prints with a diary date. Records aspects of his own life and that of his family. Starts with a photograph that he has taken, alters and enhances the photo using pencil shading. watercolor and/or white-out, then passes the photo through a vintage Gestetner machine, which scans the image using a laser and converts it into a stencil. The stencil is converted to a silkscreen image, which he prints over a background printed in colour woodblock. His work has a stronger international reputation than that of any other Japanese printmaker, including Kurosaki Akira.

The artist has commented, 'Andy Warhol used photographs of Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Onassis (then Kennedy), but notice that the subjects are famous people, and the photographs themselves had already appeared dozens of times in the mass media. I never use photos taken by other people. My photos are all my own." (Quoted in 'Noda Tetsuya, The Works 1964-1978', pp. 16-17.)

The artist has commented: 'Most of my still life works represent somebody, a man, a woman, a relative, or a friend who thought about me kindly, sent or gave me and my family some presents--fruits, vegetables, and so on. Sometimes they depict fruits or vegetables that I grew myself in our garden. My still lifes symbolically express certain persons. I have never gone to a fruit shop to look for a model for making a still life.' (Quoted in 'Days in a Life: The Art of Tetsuya Noda' (San Francisco: Asian Art Museum, 2004), p. 13.)

In regard to his tendency to position an object or scene relatively low within an overall composition, Noda has said he is interested in "the state of something placed somewhere in quiet isolation, a minimalist expression that is never loquacious" (quoted in 'Tetsuya Noda Exhibition: Diary' (Center for Graphic Arts and the University Art Museum, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, 2006), p. 9.)

Noda Tetsuya’s ‘Diary’
Since the late 1960s, artist Noda Tetsuya (born 1940) has created an ongoing series of prints under the title, ‘Diary’. Intimate portraits of his family, landscapes experienced on his travels and objects from everyday life are recorded with sensitivity, wit and a certain mystery. Spanning almost fifty years and now reaching some five hundred works, the Diary series shows from within one individual’s world, with evocative perspectives onto a wider society. The unusual technique of the prints combines colour woodblock with photo silkscreen. Noda cuts woodblocks to print areas of colour and subtle shades of white background onto handmade Japanese paper. Photographic images which have been deliberately altered by the artist to express his personal sensibility are then printed over the colours using silkscreen. This adds the darker outlines and areas of shading. Noda describes the camera as his sketchbook, using it to fix the compositions that are most significant to him. Noda’s everyday subjects and colour and outline style sometimes recall traditional Japanese ukiyo-e prints. He likes many ukiyo-e artists and admires how they observe everyday-life with the eyes of ordinary people, that is, with frankness and without ostentation.


An ongoing catalogue raisonee of the artist’s prints was published by Fuji Television Gallery in 4 volumes from 1964 until 2005, and since then by Gallery Goto and Abe Shuppan.

The artist has supplied a DVD of new works made since 2005.

See also:
Robert Flynn Johnson, Days in a Life: The Art of Tetsuya Noda, San Francisco, Asian Art Museum, 2004

Center for Contemporary Graphic Art, Tetsuya Noda: Diary, Sukagawa City (Fukushima), 2006