Hitoshi Ujiie is a textile designer as well as educator and founder of the Center for Excellence in Digital Inkjet Printing at Philadelphia University. Ujiie’s work is an exploration of the aesthetic implications of digital inkjet printing for textiles, which is bringing about profound changes in the approach to design for this medium.
Working from photographic and video sources combined with hand manipulation, Ujiie exploits the full range of effects that can be achieved by digital technology, yet his work maintains a profoundly delicate aesthetic. Digital technology permits a fineness of line not previously possible due to the higher “resolution” of inkjet vs. screen technology. It also eliminates the need for repeat in textile design, and Ujiie turns his attention instead to a sense of movement without repetition.
Virtual Fruit (2003) achieves this sense of movement through randomization of pattern over extended lengths. The subtle tonal gradation and sense of transparency typical of Ujiie’s work and showcased in this work is only possible with inkjet technology. While it is theoretically possible to print millions of colors with a four-color printing process, Ujiie uses this color precision instead in the creation of layered dimensional effects and subtle color blending. This length of digitally printed silk is layered with pomegranate-like forms that create an abstract pattern of intersecting circles in subtle shades of tan and taupe.