Born January 9, 1949 in Kyoto, Keiichi Nishimura began his training as an artist in 1976 under the apprenticeship of his father, Jintaro Nishimura, a master of the art for more than half a century. Nishimura currently resides on Whidbey Island in Washington with par amour, Bergen Rose. Although he had painted in oil and watercolor as a child and did not enter his formal apprenticeship as an artist until the age of 27, Nishimura spent seven years perfecting his art training while simultaneously studying sumi-e (charcoal ink painting). Of the 200 students who began the arduous training, only Nishimura and six others finished. Nishimura learned the techniques of his art mostly through observation and experimentation. He recalls that few words were spoken between himself and his father for the entire period of his apprenticeship. "Working with my father gave me the basic skills that are fundamentals to painting," says Nishimura. "Of course, each artist has his own style, but learning the principles are essential."
He is known for his unique approach to wave imagery and use of metal leaf within each of his original, one of a kind, paintings on silk. The medium is a water based pigment derived from suihigofun (mineral), which the artist grinds to a finer consistency and then mixes with a very delicate balance of nikawa (melted pine sap). The nikawa is what gives the pigment its deep rich color and also enables it to adhere to the silk. Variances in color and tone are by hand with wide brushes. At a glance, his work may give the effect of collage because of the several different and often textural effects he achieves by using a variety of techniques. He may, for example, incorporate a color resistant technique using flour or sand, sumi (charcoal), gold leafing, ink and other techniques all in a single work.
Nishimura is currently working toward more drama and movement in his work, employing different methods to form abstract images. "I want my paintings to be more alive, more dynamic," he says, "and somewhat abstract as well." Although his themes and inspirations always begin with the traditional, the end result is something refreshingly new and innovative. Perhaps it can be said that his work is a modern interpretation of tradition by one who understands deeply both the discipline of his Eastern culture and the freedom of Western expression. In his work, Nishimura strives to achieve integration of the two cultures.