Hokusai was commissioned to paint the interiors of several buildings during his later years at Gansho-in in Obuse, Japan, and one of the paintings he did was of the mighty Phoenix. The Phoenix to the Japanese culture is a symbol of peace. The mythical bird represents justice, obedience, fire, fidelity, the southern star constellation and the sun. Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) was indeed a great painter and print artist.
Born in Edo now Tokyo, to a family of skilled artisans. Hokusai’s interests in the painting are thought to have been triggered by his father's work on art designs and mirrors, thus starting his painting career as early as the age of six. Hokusai rose to become a master of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock printing. Between the year 1796 and 1820, Hokusai created roughly 30,000 color prints and book illustrations.
Hokusai's most known work is the woodblock print series done in 1820 in Ukiyo-e which means ‘pictures of the floating world,' is titled, “Thirty-Six View of Mount Fuji” which also includes his famous, world renowned image,” The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” Although an unheard of practice in Japanese culture, Hokusai used more than 30 in his lifetime which can act as a guide for his life's work. The first time to change his name was during his studies at Katsukawa Shunsho, where his master dubbed him Shunro. In 1800 he adopted his most popular well name that he is well known for, Katsushika Hokusai, which reflected where he was born and Hokusai meaning North Studio.
Hokusai indeed is one of the lucky few artists to enjoy primacy for their work while still alive and is accredited for influencing nineteenth-century contemporaries, with impressionists such as the likes of Monet, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec embracing his work. Hokusai is noted for producing most of hid important works after the age of 60 and often portraying Mount Fuji as an important spiritual symbol. Till today Katsushika Hokusai remains depicted as a greatest Japanese painter and printmaker, with top-notch expertise on Chinese art in his time.