Materials are blessings of nature.
Naho Ito learned Japanese traditional aesthetics and traditional painting materials, such as handmade paper, mineral pigments, sumi-ink, gold and silver foils and glue.
The color materials are called in Japanese Iwa-enogu or Rock painting. Basically Rock painting consists of clay, various minerals, shells of oysters and clams and many other elements that have been used since ancient times. Ito mixes each ingredient with glue by her own fingers. They should be treated very delicately and then pasted to the handmade paper. Moreover, they should be arranged according to seasons. So, one may say that “nature” is only one element of the technique, which Ito enjoys.
A walk with Kierkegaard.
Ito was much impressed by the philosophy the 19th century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. Much of his philosophical work deals with issues of how one can live as a "single individual", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment. Ito felt that his philosophy is applicable to her own understanding of self, eternity and relations between them. Since 2013 when the world celebrated the 200th anniversary of Kierkegaard’s birth she began trying intentionally to express his ideas in her paintings. She did not do this as a philosopher, but simply as a person who could not resists a temptation to adapt his words to her own paintings. To understand Kierkegaard better, she joined the Kierkegaard Association of Japan.
"My painting is my language. I do not feel the need to draw grand stories. Humans have been living a moment after moment under whatever circumstances. Therefore, I would like to express in my word-paintings the moments that we live through one after another. So, every moment is grand in a way.
I look for true words and try to endow them with a delicate sense of direction towards hope, so that people will be able to have a dialogue with each other. And I want to show the light hidden behind those words."