rod clark
is creative

tatamigram: the story

Painting Sets

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6 |  7



TG Design Chart

1  | 

The Name

A tatami (畳) is a type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms.Tatami are made in standard sizes, with the length exactly twice the width, an aspect ratio of 2:1
The term tatami is derived from the verb tatamu (畳む), meaning to fold or pile. The name Tatamigram is derived from reference to the famous Tangram puzzle.

The Tatamigram Brand uses the Font 'Ali' by Phillipe Apeloig.

Read my Artists Statement here

Titling of the Works

Works are identified by Number and Letter. The Number refers to the Shape used and the Letter following it is the colour/orientation version.

The letter P at the end of a Title means it is painted on Ply (either or both Painting Set 2 and 3).

The letters PO means print only. These designs allow for more detail than could be included in the standard 305 x 305mm painted format. It is possible that they could be painted at a larger scale (see 6 Acrylic on Board. 610 x 610mm below). Please contact me to discuss commissions.

The System

Tatamigrams are compositions made in a Square with 4 Pieces; the 2x Quadrilaterals and the 2x Right-angled Scalene Triangles generated by two cuts to a Tatami (double square): diagonally, and into two squares. The Quadrilaterals contain 3 of the Triangles. Thus each Shape is made up of a total of 8 of the Triangles.
The figure, regardless of its shape, is held in a spatial balance within, and sometimes fortuitously to the very bounds, of the ground. The area of the figure is always 2/5 of the area of the ground. diag sq root of 5
A main proviso, or limitation, when composing the Shapes is that the parts have to be joined/anchored to each other - to create an overall shape, a gestalt, - and are not merely free-floating. This 'rule' is broken on occasion (TG 25) where pieces are only notionally joined - ie they meet at their points - and at others where the dispersal of the Shape within the square ground is equally important.

The resulting compositions are by turns architectural, typographic, icono/pictographic and abstract. Even the same work when rotated can display a different type of image.

As, in common with the original Tangram, there are hundreds of possible permutations of the 2x 2 Pieces and  the 27 colours in use. This means the Tatamigram system is a limitless resource to generate colourful forms and playful artworks. The addition of Patterns further extends these possibilities. I hope you enjoy the results as much as I have enjoyed their origination.

The viewer completes the work.

The Painting Sets

The excitement of generating Shapes is matched for me by the range of paintings that have been evolved. The simple yet flexible subject matter of the work is reflected in the groups of painted 'objects' on offer. I call these Painting Sets.
Tatamigrams are currently available in 8 Painting Sets and a range of Prints.

While all the works across all Sets are necessarily similar each Set has its own appeal, whether to do with scale, style or affordability. Equally pieces from various Sets be combined in a display in a way that is mutually complimentary. The Sets are shown in their relative sizes in the animation above.

Acrylic on Canvas Board. 305 x 305mm view gallery
Three Frame Options;
a) Standard 
18mm Ply flush to Board (the edge is the same colour as the Ground)
b) Painted Tray Frame Colour Options;
i) White Satin,
ii) Ground colour,
iii) Selected Shape colour (ie the number of possible colours here depends on the number of colour in the Shape,
iv) Artists choice of 'Extra' colour - this is a colour chosen by me from the range of 27 that works really well but is not present in the Shape or the Ground of the work itself )
c) Dark Hardwood Deep Tray Frame

view gallery
Acrylic on Found Sheet. 130 x 130mm
(Fixed into 23cm glazed Box Frame)
These smaller works are a single-colour Shape (he viewer has to 'find' the Pieces that make it up)
Wood surface may vary slightly from image as each is unique. These designs can also be supplied as (3) below.

view gallery
Acrylic and Gloss Varnish on Ply. 300 x 300 x 18mm

Mainly monochromatic and using the simplest most cohesive Shapes. Ready to hang 4 ways.

view gallery
Acrylic on single-board Shape.
(SB) (Tatami size 200 x 400mm)
The Tatamigram is cut from a single board.
The average size of these pieces is 30 x 40cm

view gallery
Acrylic on multi-board Shape.

(Tatami size 290 x 580mm)
The Tatamigram is made of its separate 4 Pieces.               
The average size of these works is 40 x 50cm

6 view gallery
Acrylic on Board. 610 x 610mm.
Painted Tray Frame.
The Tatamigram is made with layers of board and forms a relief.
The colouring of the returns adds depth to these pieces. Tray Frame is always painted in the Ground colour.

7 view gallery
TGT Tall 
x2 305 x 305mm Boards on Painted 18mm Ply support.
Most Shapes are composed to fit the square format but one of the original aims was to explore Tatamigrams as letterforms and these are generally more elongated Shapes. The TG Tall  set accommodates these 'anomalies'and includes all 'written' TG 'texts'. and always across a  Ready to hang 4 ways.

8 view gallery
TG F Flats
  Acrylic on multi-board Shape. (Tatami size 610 x 1220mm)
'Slim monochrome boards with coloured returns. The average size of these works is 50 x 50cm

The Painting Sets and the Design Chart

The Painting Sets are divided into two groups, those in which the Shapes have a Ground (Sets 1, 2, 3, 6,and 7) and those without (Sets 4, 5, 8). These latter Sets are free-hanging Shapes.Their lack of Ground is made up for by their painted returns which add another element of colour and reinforce their object quality. They do not appear on the Design Chart as their specific physicality preclude them from being applicable as designs to any other set. (For the same reason Set 6 does not appear on the Design Chart). However the works in Sets 4 and 5 would be applicable to Set 8). 

The Design Chart contains all of the designs developed from Shapes. It includes all designs as applied to Set 1, on canvas board, Set 2, on found sheet, Set 3, on ply and Set 7, on two canvas boards. Potentially all the designs on the Chart can be applied to any of the Painting Sets. Exceptions to this are TGT designs (Set 7), which could only be applied to Sets 4, 5 and 8.

The Design chart also contains TG D which are x2-square designs that have been developed specifically for Prints, but are well suited to be applied to Painting Set 1. All designs which feature in Sets 1 and 7 are available as Prints. Some designs are only available as Prints (PO)

Custom Prints can be commissioned


Due to the extensive, and growing, range of Tatamigrams available it is difficult to provide a standard Shop model in which each Work is listed separately.
Instead the Shop shows each of the 6 Painting Sets as separate products and explains their construction and features.
First make your selection of the Works required e.g. 4x 305mm  (Flush Ply Support). Use the dropdown Quantity Menu to select 4)
Add them to your cart and complete the payment procedure. At this point you will have ordered 4 of a certain Painting Set but without specifying their actual Titles. After checkout you will receive a confirmation email from the store. Shortly after you will receive an email direct from me requesting the Work Titles and any Frame Colour specifications. You can copy and paste the pre-formatted Order List from my email into your reply and add the Titles (shown below in bold).
ie Order List:
Item  Product              Title           
1        305mm FPS       TG 45a
2        305mm FPS       TG 16b
3        305mm FPS       TG 33c
4        305mm FPS       TG 2a

Please do double-check the Titles are correct before sending your reply. On receipt of your reply your order will be complete and fulfillment will begin.

A Discount of 10% will automatically be added to orders over £150.
(eg 3x TG 305 Standard @£55 would cost £148.50 rather than £165)


I welcome commissions for paintings. It is a complex enough series of works but I understand buyers may always want to make their purchases unique. Please do get in touch if you have any questions regarding what design can be applied to what Painting Set(s). There is a labyrinthine logic to this (see below The Painting Sets and the Design Chart)

Custom prints can be commissioned eg any 2 square designs in a 2-Up layout, or any 4 square designs in a 2x2 layout. These can be visualised and this service adds a small amount to the price.

Using Format