Sculpting from Liquid Motion – High Speed Photography of Flying Ink and Water by Shinichi Maruyama

In his Kusho series, which means “writing in the sky”, Japanese artist Shinichi Maruyama lets black ink collide with water and photographs the millisecond before they merge into gray. The split-second timing necessary to photograph these pictures is made possible by recent advances in strobe light technology, allowing him to capture the movement at 7,500th of a second.


Inspired by his own experiences with Japanese Calligraphy (Shodo) as a young student, Maruyama is fascinated by the ephemeral uniqueness of each stroke:

Once your brush touches paper, you must finish the character, you have one chance. It can never be repeated or duplicated. You must commit your full attention and being to each stroke. Liquids, like ink, are elusive by nature. As sumi ink finds its own path through the paper grain, liquid finds its unique path as it moves through air.

Speaking of Calligraphy, the first picture in the series is a beautiful version of the Japanese symbol “ensō“. Literally meaning “circle”, ensō is a concept strongly associated with Zen. It symbolizes the infinity and represents the infinite void, the ‘no-thing’, the perfect meditative state and Satori (enlightenment).

The water sculpture series is another demonstration of high speed photography by Shinichi Maruyama to capture the perfect form of liquid motion.



At present, Shinichi Maruyama works and lives in New York. You can see more of his artwork at