(Mountain Home) – When Warren Haley donated his extensive collection of Asian art to Arkansas State University-Mountain Home (ASUMH), he had no idea it would mean so much to young artists at the college. Heidi Botscharow, an ASUMH student, says her recent artistic expressions were inspired by the ASUMH donor’s Japanese woodblock print collection. The extensive collection donated by Warren Haley, features prints from prominent artists of the genre such as Hiroshige, Utamaro, Harunobu and Sharaku. Ukiyo-e, literally “pictures of the floating world” in Japanese, is the word for these woodblock prints and paintings which feature motifs of landscapes, tales from history, theatre, and daily life.
Haley’s collection inspired the young artist to paint a series of nine ryukin, a Japanese variety of goldfish which are characterized by a hump in the shoulder region and a round belly. Botscharow was hesitant of communicating some of her artistic ideas until she saw the collection. “Mr. Haley’s print collection opened a new world of emotive color, line, texture and different approaches to the selection of subject matter. I found a new way to communicate my intellectual and emotional responses to everyday subject matter in paint,” says Botscharow. Determined to paint some sort of response, she returned to view the collection several times. “I wanted to paint something seen every day that maybe felt under-appreciated, but something I really loved. After about a week of looking at things around me, I dove into a study of goldfish. It’s extremely exciting. What turned from one painting of a beloved fat-bellied goldfish from Okinawa became a vibrant series of nine goldfish.” Botscharow’s series was recently on display at the Hill Country Art Gallery on the square in Mountain Home. She thanks Mr. Haley for donating the Ukiyo-e prints and his Asian art, which can be found around campus, and hopes that others will come to the ASUMH campus to see his beautiful displays. Previously exhibited in the Ozark Arts Council Conference Room at The Sheid, the Ukiyo-e prints are currently in the Office of Admissions on the third floor of Roller Hall and will remain on the ASUMH campus indefinitely.
Botscharow is from Mountain Home and is currently enrolled in the funeral science program at ASUMH. She is president of the Student Government Association and holds an Associate of Arts degree from ASUMH.