C1 During the summer of 2019, I found myself in the middle of a mountain, lost in a bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan. In the span of two hours, walking deeper into the bamboo, I encountered only two other beings; a black cat, and a young Japanese student named Yamanaka. Yamanaka explained to me that there was nothing in the direction I was walking. With a bow, he took on the task of being my guide. For three hours Yamanaka led me through the bamboo, to a path, up a hill. We passed hundreds of small, ancient-looking shrines, and crimson gates. Yamanaka brought me to the top of the mountain to a 600-year-old pillar. At the tip of this pillar was a larger-than-life statue of a fox leaping through the air. We found a bench to rest on. Yamanaka taught me about bugs, and I took out my sketchbook in an attempt to capture our adventure. We shared each other’s company in solitude.
I have always felt a sense of comfort in solitude, and I have always thought of stumbled-upon, empty spaces as personal sanctuaries. This growing series of illustrations are of the sanctuaries I found while getting lost in Japan.
This series is dedicated to Yamanaka. Thank you for sharing my solitude.