Fumiko Amano


Sonic Landscape
“Which is more musical: a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?” --- John Cage

Every city is filled with sounds that combine to form a sonic landscape. I have spent time in many different cities and have always been interested in the sonic landscapes of urban areas. I grew up in Tokyo during the smoggy 70’s and was annoyed and depressed by the yellow flags that signaled dangerous pollution levels in the air. But along with the pollution came a sonic landscape of cars, sirens and trains that I truly enjoyed. It was an environment that seemed natural to me.

I began taking piano lessons when I was three years old and feel that classical music provided a sound structure that helped me decode the sonic landscape that was evolving around me. I didn’t realize at the time that these industrial sounds were being incorporated into modern musical scores.

Sound is my inspiration. Sounds fill my canvases. I turn sound into color. Many classical composers have taken a similar route and have created charts that assign colors to notes.

I decided to create visual images inspired by urban noise after I saw Michiyoshi Inoue conduct a performance by a symphony orchestra by pointing at different parts of a large painting. The colors and textures of the painting became intertwined with the music. I was also inspired by John Cage’s use of notation in Water Music. His musical score looked more like a drawing than a traditional score.

All of my recent paintings have been composed using collage techniques. I feel like a modern DJ when I am painting. I cut and paste from various ready-made sources to create a work with new meaning and a sense of history. I have incorporated architecture, Japanese comics, dreams, beat poetry and sound into my latest series of painting.