The works of Shoichi Seino as ceramics are born from clay and fire. Far from pottery and unrelated to the ceramic world, his work has been more suitable as art work in its activity field and style. However,questions about the division of art and ceramic art in Japan arise when Seino's works are examined in detail. They typify the ongoing between modern work and tradition.
Seino
s first interests was traditional ceramic works. During his university years, he became a pupil of the ceramist of Seto for a short period, and visited the ceramists of major ceramic-producing regions in the Western
Japan, such as Arita, Karatsu, and Hagi. In 1973, at the age of 24, the self-educated Seino started to work on the ceramic in the suburb of Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture. His very first pieces were a black figurative earthen ware. One of the reasons he didn
't make a pottery during that early stage was that the new ceramic fields unrelated to traditional pottery had already been established.
Around 1970, just before he started to work as an artist, there was a cultural undulation of vivacious influence and communication crossing all cultural genres.Seino, too, was not only interested in ceramic art, but also in a contemporary art, plays, and dances, and he was especially connected to the dancers of Dairakudakan. Seino entered the contemporary art field influenced by the atmosphere of the time. Also, he was away from the nexus and conventions of Japan
's ceramic world. His interest in ceramics was not directly connected with the ceramic world, and he began his first step towards his future career in contemporary art.
In 1975, he moved to Aichi Prefecture and has been working there since. The figurative trend of his early works vanished, its form became simplified and minimized and this became Seino
's consistent attitude to the work. As to 'subduing clay's assertion', he says it means that he refuses to create pottery or figurative forms according to the characteristics of the clay only. On the contrary, he ignored the attitudes of other artists who easily created form based on material properities only. To control both his artist's assertion and the clay's, he persisted much more pottery clay into fire and watching the metamorphosis in the kiln than in being concerned of clay itself. The various changes of its colors and form in the kiln, according to Seino, that is his basis of activity as an artist.
In 1979, his philosophy became clearer in his work. Same-sized pieces of ceramics were piled up, and they could almost have been classified as instellation work. The clay from nine places from all over Japan was collected and fired, and the work reflected the differences in the qualities of each clay.
In 1981, he showed work made of a clay called Hakuunseki which was manufactured for industrial use. Hebegan to use an industrial clay called Fine Ceramics, instead of natural clay, and from that point on, he started to search in histrical direction in ceramic art. Since 1984, he has also begun using another clay, Koukaseki, and has been using a graphite lately. Like the traditional ceramists traveling around to find the ideal clay, Seino reserches various contemporary clays, and explores his own world the various changes. His clay swells wildly, its color changes are complicated, in some case, it's intencely cracked. His work shows the changes which cross the tradition of ceramic art. Most of his works are done by himself, but in some cases, Fine Ceramic, for example, industrial materials are used. His interpratation of ceramic art is open and free.
One early influence which made Seino become interested in traditional ceramics was that he has deeply impressed by Honnamikouetsu's fujisan teacup. Fujisan, a national treasure has the characteristic of metamophosis in the kiln on its lower surface. So many people have looked for inspiration in metamorphosis. Ceramics have an unexpected beauty, capriciousness of clay and fire emerging which are impossible to intentionally. They must wait for the results of the work to be done before picking them up from a kiln. However, Seino does not let be in chance alone. Seino seems to feel a deep concern between the various changes in the kiln and organic changes in nature. Here, we must consider how nature reflects his work. By naturally and leaving the matter to the clay and the fire during creation, nature lives in it. For the artist who waits for results, occur as in the kiln symbolized revelation of the nature. Ceramic art as a genre is not as important to Seino as receiving a revelation of nature, and reconsidering traditional approaches and techniques for working on ceramics. Therefore, we need to think about the ceramic art retoinity its susceptibility towards the beauty of the metamophosis in the kiln. This is cultural roots and history - or tradition. Seino, who stands unlimitedly far from ceramic art, however, he has accepted its traditional approaches and techniques for working with ceramics in the same
way. Merely, he was developed different ways from the other ceramic artists. By contract, Seino's works point out the weakness of other Japanese contemporary art which has been separated from its culture. It does not strike at the roots of its tradition.

Takashi Mizutani, Art Critic