“I guess I wanted to make more things that I like,” says Daiki Kaneko in a matter-of-fact way, as if not speaking of himself.
I was originally involved in automotive design, but there were certain limitations, and I wasn’t able to make them as I wanted to. I then started engraving by stamping with a chisel, but I was unable to engrave the patterns as freely as I had hoped, which left me dissatisfied.
Carving would allow me to produce anything I like, without any limitations.
I therefore decided to become a carver.
This is what encouraged me to start on a path toward chokin (metal carving).
After learning the basics of carving, the only option he had to develop his own style was to practice. Getting a clear image of the items he wanted to create and then mastering the techniques were nothing more than the conditions required to enable him to stand on the starting line.
He achieved the determination to learn carving as quickly as possible and the strength to become a craftsman through his sense of design and his somatic intuition.
His experience as a designer of three-dimensional objects allows 3-D images of the articles he wants to create to appear in his mind. The act of carving is based on faithfully reproducing the images that one has in mind.
Making the best use of the somatic intuition he built up in the martial art of karate, at which he is proficient enough to become an instructor, he traces the designs with the grace of a craftsman. Observing the position of his body, the angle of his hands and arms, and the amount of pressure he applies makes it clear that the process has overtaken his body. If the chisel remains steady and he hits the spot accurately, he is able to create an impressive carving within a short period of time.
Having been constantly told since his days of learning the craft that despite making minimal noise he carved quickly, he honed his craft at a rapid pace and was proficient enough to set up on his own within one year.
As an artist creating what he wants, a craftsman producing articles that are sold in shops, and a producer receiving private orders, Kaneko himself defines these three roles under the collective term of “creator”.
He accurately comes up with the items desired while listening to his clients’ demands and then shares his designs with them. The more he meets up with clients, the more he is stimulated by their different senses and concepts, and this helps him come up with interesting designs. This is just one example of the way in which he draws forth the true essence of a creator. Recently, he is receiving more and more orders to reproduce living creatures in combinations of three-dimensional shapes and carvings, such as the horse of a knight piece in chess and snake rings.
The more carving you do, the better you become. His mentor once told him that a carver reaches their peak in their sixties. Kaneko, who is still around the age of forty, will continue to polish his skills with total determination as he moves toward creating even keener carvings.