This work has been in the seafood restaurant in Padstow for about 10 years. It was the first time I'd bought one of Ken's works, and I realised how much more there was to his work than just the beach scenes and I saw just how much he loves and respects Japan and the Japanese people. The stillness of this woman is so great, and the colours, and it's a really good piece for a restaurant. You want things in restaurants where people say 'what's going on there?' and there's some story there that I don't know, and it's for you to interpret. I always remember, I think back in the days when he was very unknown in the UK seeing a program about Ken and him saying "well, what I consider a cow may be not what you consider a cow, but it's a cow to me" and it's almost a subliminal conversation between you and the artist, and I think that's where the real pleasure comes in art. It's expressing things that you almost can't express figuratively. Having been to Japan since then, I quite like that she's a bit rounded, because not everyone in Japan is small and neat and tidy, they're quite robust people
My stylist who works on the photography for my books is Japanese, she interprets my dishes so ruggedly. I think the preconception with Japan is that everything is delicate and precise, but there is a real strength underlying that. The woman in this painting looks like if you got on the wrong side of her, she'd give you a good wallop!