Japanese artist Yosuke Yamamoto (also known as yosuke.horiyo) wields his carving chisel as though it were an extension of his own arm. From an early age, Yamamoto was awakened to the art of wood carving, watching the thrilling danjiri parade from the sidelines in his hometown of Osaka, Japan. Inspired by the elaborate hand-carved wooden floats in these parades, Yamamoto was consumed with a passion for wood crafting. “I was holding a chisel by the time I was in middle school,” he told Instagram Blog. It was not too long after, upon graduating from high school, that he obtained an apprenticeship with a master. A determination to pursue the ancient craft was stirred in Yamamoto and he has yet to look back.
Yamamoto is now a master sculptor himself, having honed his artistry over 10 years of training. He works with two apprentices, and together the team tackles projects of all shapes and sizes. Their intricate pieces are a network of tiny details that come together to form highly elaborate and artistic final sculptures. Each carefully carved character emerges from the wood with fully formed personality, emotions made easy to read across their small faces with meticulous attention paid to each tiny feature. For Yamamoto, nothing is better than the satisfaction he feels after successfully completing a danjiri float, which can take up to two years to finish.
Yamamoto's career path is admirable, as the determination and single-minded pursuit towards his goal can be read as inspiration for anyone with an interest in art. Of wood carving, Yamamoto has said: “It is a tradition that will last for hundreds of years. I strike my chisel to create work only I can make – like the soulful masterpieces I saw when I was a kid.” His sculptures pay tribute to an ancient Japanese tradition, yet combine this methodology with modern-day innovation and Yamamoto continues to gain attention for his work in his home country, and abroad.