|Acquisition Number: 51.7
Medium: Ink on Japanese Rice Paper
Size: 8 3/4" x 16 1/4"
Credit: Purchased by the Canton Museum of Art
Paul Arnold was born in 1918 in T’ai Uyan Fu, Shansi Province China to Roger and Eleanor Tracey Arnold. His father was a YMCA general secretary and Arnold spent his first 18 years in Asia. He was about 6 when he began to show interest in the arts that would become one of his great passions in life. An entire wall outside their home in China was painted in black and there Arnold, his two brothers and friends would spend hours sketching in chalk. His mother home schooled Paul and his brothers until his secondary years at Shanghai American School.
Arnold came to Oberlin to major in French Literature, but he took a course in watercolor and the rest is history. Arnold’s primary medium while he was a student at Oberlin College and in his first years as a professor at Oberlin was watercolor. However, by 1950, he was beginning a career in printmaking. Arnold states the “Chairman of the Department of Art, Clarence Ward, informed me that in the fall I would be teaching Printmaking, which had not been offered here previously. I read all the books on prints that I could find – to learn how to do it – only to discover that one couldn’t become a printmaker from books”.
Arnold studied with Malcolm Myers at the University of Minnesota and furthered his studies in 1962 when he was able to take a sabbatical voyage Japan.
“In Japan, through a gallery director acquaintance, I made immediate contact with Toshi Yoshida, a well-known Japanese printmaker, who was willing to allow me to sit and watch him and his printer at work. I made two prints under Yoshida’s guidance while I was still in Tokyo, cutting blocks in my hotel room at night – I have often wondered what the maid thought about this crazy American when she had to clean up my wood chips each morning.
The upshot was that I spent the summer in Hawaii making “Japanese” prints. I was hooked! While I had adopted Japanese techniques, I don’t think my prints are influenced by a Japanese aesthetic. I have spent the last 30 plus years adapting their technique to my needs and to Western tools and materials. The only material I need to obtain from Japan is a special type of mulberry fiber paper; no Western paper will hold up the strains and demands of this kind of printing."