Ishiki Arata

About me

about me

Ishiki Arata

I was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1989. I practiced martial arts since the age of 7. I later discovered art and graduated the “Nicolae Tonitza School of Fine Arts” in Bucharest, Romania. My love for martial arts has remained throughout my entire life, still being a practitioner to this day.

After about 22 years of mindless living, I started a thorough investigation of who I am, what am I doing here and why. This process lasted for around 3 years and resulted in a few major changes. I embraced the Buddhist philosophy and I changed my name in 2016 from Ionut Popa to Ishiki Arata. I have yet to find the answers to those questions, or rather, as a Buddhist saying goes: “In Zen we don’t find the answers, we lose the questions.”

To balance the solitary time spent alone in the workshop painting, I have picked up photography to keep my 'artistic eye' alive as I travel to different places.

Art Statement

My art is directly linked to my spiritual journey. At the beginning of this journey, when I stumbled upon the first steps towards self-discovery, my works portrayed the inner struggle (see "Despair") and the people that showed guidance on this path (see "Mooji", "Merging"). As my understanding grew, I stopped portraying monks and started painting what they felt and what they pointed to. That is a non-rational, non-descriptive perception of life. An unfiltered expression of the being. Painting and spirituality for me are intertwined. Sometimes my painting evolves through spirituality, while other times it's the other way around, it's the painting that gives me breakthroughs in my spiritual quest.


My first workshop was in a bunker, before moving to the house in the mountains. Below are some pictures of the workplaces that I worked in so far.


Press - interview