Calligrapher SHIZU USAMI
Born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, Shizu began calligraphy at age three under her mother’s guidance. After graduating from University of Teacher Education, Fukuoka (Program of Arts, Japanese Calligraphy Course), she studied the origins of KANJI (Chinese characters adopted into Japanese) at an institute in Kyoto run by Mr. Shizuka Shirakawa, the Japanese authority on kanji ideograms. In 2009, her studies brought her to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of Arts London.
Shizu actively began holding solo exhibitions during her university years. Commissioned by various Japanese public offices and industries, Shizu has created and continues to create numerous calligraphic works. One of her specialties is the expression of social and environmental issues in the form of calligraphy, and her work has been used on the covers of protocols of the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties, Meeting of the Parties, and General Assembly. She also had great commercial success collaborating with a major Japanese brand, designing Yukata (lightweight summer kimono) patterns using calligraphy.
Shizu continues to give lectures and write about Japanese customs and the origins of KANJI. In the summer of 2016, she launched ArTshirtsBySHIZU to produce T-shirts with KANJI designs that express the essence of East Asia (Japan).
Shizu currently resides in the city of Bellevue with her husband and 18-month old daughter. She holds free calligraphy classes for children at the Bellevue Library once a month to give back to the community, and to give children an opportunity to experience the beauty of the Japanese language.