Toko Shinoda is a Japanese artist working with sumi* [ink] paintings and prints. Her art merges traditional calligraphy with modern abstract expression*. A 1983 interview in Time magazine noted that "her trail-blazing accomplishments are analogous to Picasso's". Shinoda's works have been exhibited in the Hague National Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, Cincinnati Art Museum and other leading museums in the world.
Shinoda was born in Manchuria where her father managed a tobacco factory. Two years later, her family returned to Japan. Influenced by her father's love of sumi [ink] painting, calligraphy* and Chinese poetry, Shinoda practiced calligraphy since she was six.
Shinoda traveled the United States from 1956 to 1958. During this time her works were bought by Charles Laughton and John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Shinoda also became involved in the abstract expressionist movement of the time. She turned 100 in March 2013.
The artist prefers her paintings and original drawings, because sumi [ink] presents unlimited color spectrum. In printmaking, Shinoda uses lithograph as her medium. Unlike woodcut* that requires chisel, or etching that requires acid, lithograph allows Shinoda to work directly and spontaneously on the plate with her fluid brushstroke.
Shinoda's strokes are meant to suggest images and vitality of nature. She says, "Certain forms float up in my mind's eye. Aromas, a blowing breeze, a rain-drenched gust of wind -the air in motion, my heart in motion. I try to capture these vague, evanescent images of the instant and put them into vivid form."
Shinoda's print editions are small, usually ranging from twelve to fifty-five, and after each edition has been pulled, she often adds a stroke or two of sumi color by hand to each print.