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David Bull: Woodblock Prints

Simply Haiku
Nov./Dec. 2004
vol.2, no.6



David Bull, English-born Canadian, a resident of Tokyo, makes his living as a woodblock printmaker. David prefers to emphasize that he is not an 'artist'. The prints he makes were designed in the Edo and Meiji eras by various artists. He works in 'collaboration' with these men, carving and printing their designs, just as the craftsmen of the Edo period worked together with the artists of their day. He does, however, love both aspects of printmaking and would not be content with doing only half the job. He feels it's tremendously satisfying to see the prints coming to life under his hands. After viewing David's prints, one will see his enthusiasm for this interesting craft. The only reason for the existence of a print is its intrinsic beauty.

Very few people in our age have any understanding at all of what a woodblock print is, and of how beautiful it can be. David enjoys the responsibility to educate people in these things and refuses to make 'wallpaper'; thus, he will not sell 'single' prints for people to take home, hang on their wall and ignore. He only sells prints by subscription, grouped in sets and stored safely inside slipcases to be kept and treasured for viewing.

David Bull believes that the whole and only purpose of printmaking is the creation of multiple copies and the dissemination of the message to as wide an audience as possible. Any attempt to limit production artificially, either to maintain a false and dishonest high price for the product, or to avoid hard work by the craftsman, is utterly against the concept of a print. He makes no limited editions, never defaces his blocks, and his prints will never carry edition numbers.

Featured here, you will see three prints of his 2004 album, from a set of four print series entitled "Beauties of Four Seasons". Collectors in Japan have requested for years that David make more prints of the bijin-ga type (literally: beautiful woman pictures).

For further details about the series, visit his websites: