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Write Around PAM: Azechi Umetarō

Titles offer insight into an artist’s vision and add layers of meaning to an artwork. Japanese printmaker Azechi Umetarō often took inspiration from his experiences mountaineering, as we see in this print, Yuki otoko (Man in Snow). He made dozens of woodblock prints of similar subjects. His human figures in the snowy mountains are often depicted with varying degrees of abstraction—like here, where the title helps give context to the figure and the mountain landscape behind him. The abstract shapes and bold colors of this image may suggest other things to your imagination. We invite you to spend some time today dreaming up your own titles for this work.

First, look closely at this piece and see what you notice. What catches your attention? What story do you see?

Next, imagine this piece as a poster for a movie or the cover of a book. Brainstorm 3 possible titles for that movie or book.

Finally, circle one of your titles and use it as a prompt for your freewrite. Set a timer for 12 mins and just keep your pen or pencil moving.

BONUS – if you are writing with others in your household, write your titles down on slips of paper and exchange them. Use someone else’s title for your freewrite. 

Writing in community is powerful. We are grateful to our longtime partner Write Around Portland for the writing prompts and inspiration. You can revisit past Sunday posts and look for continuing weekly posts through the winter. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM 

Azechi Umetarō, Yuki otoko (Man in Snow), from James A. Michener, The Modern Japanese Print: An Appreciation, 1960, color woodblock print on kōzo paper, The Carol and Seymour Haber Collection in memory of Ardis Spliid Hendricks, © unknown, research required, 2004.39g