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“After Misako Oba left a successful career as a broadcaster for Japanese television in Japan and New York, following some personal hardships in Japan, she moved to New York and began anew as a photographic artist. Oba’s early work, in the series “El Camino” and “Fireflies,” showed idiosyncratic interpretations in a mysterious and partly abstract manner of such cities as Tokyo, Paris, Brussels, and New York. The work was just gaining critical interest when her progress was interrupted by a new personal tragedy in 2006—the discovery that she had the very rare medical condition A.V.M. (Arterio-Venous Malformation) in the pinkie of her right hand. Heavy spontaneous bleeding and several failed medical procedures lead to the dreaded decision to undergo an amputation in the U.S. without the presence of her family, who were in Japan.

Her project FAUSTUS, dealing with this personal struggle to come to an understanding and acceptance of a rare medical condition that struck her unexpectedly, clearly shows her power of turning these horrific events into a stunning art project of universal application. This work is personal but universal, a drama exploring the most basic of human tales—facing fear and “loss” with courage. Had she not been an artist of exceptional ability and courage, this trauma would have remained known only to herself and circle of close friends and family. Instead it stands as a visible monument to a human spiritual journey, an X-ray of a young woman’s soul. I believe that all of her art reflects, to a degree few artists can match, a clear-eyed appraisal of the conditions of her emotions and her soul. Her work is uniquely passionate and engaging.

The self-portraits work might be compared to Francesca Woodman’s and Cindy Sherman’s quest for an alternate identity. In Oba’s case, one sees the perseverance of a loving spirit, and a validation of the eternal beauty of the female persona. [……]”

Quote from Afterword of [FAUSTUS] by Gary Edwards,
Gary Edwards Gallery
Washington, DC

Gallery Director Gary Edwards

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“The content of the FAUSTUS was truly phenomenal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such pure expression, and it touched my heart.

Artists would think of using blood in their work at some point. But if the blood comes from a person’s own cutting, impurities such as his/her subjectivity and greed inevitably are present.

However, this is not the case with her work, which contains nothing of the sort. The blood, as clear as water, expresses her strong determination and gently enters our hearts in a raw way. I felt the red was really beautiful. The white gauze looks like a cocoon.

I greatly commend her for the courage to genuinely express this painful experience and to capture the hope that came from her loss in a book. When I encountered this book, I felt that true art is not a made up expression, but the life of the artist him/herself.”

Soichiro Kanai
Contemporary Artist (Former Professional Tennis Player)

“If you hear about a book showing photographs of artwork painted with fresh human blood, you might dismiss it as distasteful, gruesome or macabre. But none of these preconceptions applies to Misako Oba’s Faustus. The unique work tells in carefully chosen words and shows in the artist’s own sensibly curated photographs the story of her incredible physical and emotional journey. Oba beautifully turned into art the painful experience and vivid reds from the spontaneous bleeding of her right pinkie, and bravely turned into hope the despair of its amputation.

To me, Faustus teaches a profound lesson in humility, faith, optimism, and even gratitude in the face of adversity. I love it so much that, after securing my own copy, I gave another to one of my sisters as a birthday gift to share with her the book’s inspiring message.”

Martin Dietrich Brauch,
Researcher at Columbia University, New York / Art Collector

New! Added in April 2022
” The photo book “FAUSTUS” has arrived.

The word “sacred scar (Stigmata)” came to mind.

It is very private, but I also felt a sense of universality. 

I felt that blood spurting out was something like a prelude to the outpouring of light.

I don’t want to use the words easily, but at the same time, I felt like I wanted to put something into words.

Thank you! I felt love, light and life.”

Photographer in Japan, Educator in photography

“Faustus recounts Misako’s heart-breaking journey of the amputation of her finger through fine art photography. As an organist and pianist, her story impacted me greatly with the horror of her predicament. I am thankful for her courageous sharing rather than shying away from the world and others, as it enables us to lament and grieve the loss in our own lives as well.”

Roger W. Lowther
Author of “Aroma of Beauty”

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2021-2022 Recent Reviews (読者評価・感想)