Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Defiant Satire, with Samurai Frog

Artist Tenmyouya Hisashi takes traditional Japanese art, modern culture, graffiti tags and Japanese typography, Western stereotypes about Japan and makes a heady mix. These are some of my favorite things.

Japanese Spirit #13
Acrylic, Gold leaf, Wood

Kanji Maple Leaves Graffiti Cedar Door Painting
Acrylic,Gold leaf,Ceder panel door

What if Japanese graffiti artists used kanji (characters, rather than romanji - transliterated Japanese in Roman characters)?

Tattoo Man's Battle
Acrylic, Wood

A Tree Frog Pretending to be a 'Warlord Frog' (Leopard Frog)
Acrylic, Wood

A think the samurai frog is the coolest thing ever.

RX-78-2 Kabuki-mono 2005 Version
Acrylic, Gold leaf,

Nine Kamakura Samurai
Acrylic, Wood

Tenmyouya Hisashi writes,
I created these works in 2001 for the exhibition, "One Planet under a Groove: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art," which began at the Bronx Museum and went to various other museums in the United States. This could be called the ukiyo-e version of the "Japanese Spirit" series. These images were conceived especially for the eyes of non-Japanese viewers. Both of these works were published in the monthly magazine, "GETON!," and after the publication of "Kamakura Nine Samurai," the Great Buddha in Kamakura was actually defaced with spray-painted graffiti. This crime may have been committed by someone who saw my work in the magazine.

I've had the great pleasure of visting Kamakura, including the Daibutsu or giant Buddha. You can even go down a set of stairs and inside of the sculpture itself- in the belly of the Buddha. The fascinating thing is that it is covered in graffiti, on the inside... dating back centuries. The earliest one I found was dated seventeenth century.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dancing about Architecture

Or painting and printmaking in fact. Is it like writing about music? O, delightful metaphor of dubious pedigree...

I keep seeing art about architecture. Much of it seems to be about the concept of "home". There is a lot of popular illustration that has a cozy, homey vibe these days. Perhaps, I'm contrary. I was moved by these dystopian images by Dutch artist Rob Voerman. Perhaps it is simply the genius of combining block printing, screenprinting and water colour as in Epicenter:

2007 Linoleumprint, silkscreen and watercolour on paper 201 x 180cm
Edition of 5 + 1AP

This one, Annex #3 could be Toronto, but isn't.

Annex # 3
2006 Etching on paper 40 x 30cm
Edition of 15 + 1AP

Untitled 2000
2000 Linoleum print and soot on paper 74 x 74cm
Edition of 20 + 1AP

2008 Watercolour and pencil on paper 193 x 116cm

The work of American Erin Curtis, is much less dystopian, but it does have a certain haunting quality, despite the colour. {via happy mundane}

Ford Foundation
Acrylic on Canvas, 2008, 84 x 72 in.

Pool Shot
Mixed Media on Paper, 2008, 24 x 36 in.

For Sale
Acrylic on Canvas, 2008, 84 x 108 in.

I'm going to use this as an excuse to highlight Scottish illustrator Lizzy Stewart, simply because she rocks. If you aren't familiar with her work, do yourself a favour and go check out her portfolio and the about today etsy shop.

Nikolai Sutyagin's House
Image for FormFiftyFive's first publication 6x10
Also used as the basis for a customised screenprint.

One of the Broken House Triptych: Three drawings for an exhibition at Lower Haters, Haight St, San Francisco.

Built In Illustration inspired by a poem by Claire Askew as part of a collaboration between Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh Univeristy Creative Writers.

Giant Bear in Tiny Village Two colour screenprint

Which brings us back to bears, because really, can there be too many bears in this blog? No, I didn't think so.

Also, if the concept intrigues you, go check out dear ada where there is an entire "art about architecture" section.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Other Hagiographies

The word hagiography makes me think of Robertson Davies. It is the study of saints. These are saints of a different sort.

First, Steve Seeley's woodland sort of hagiography.

{psst... you really should also check out his extensive portfolio... it's not all sainted animals, sometimes it's superheroes, aliens, antlers, rainbows, creative anatomy and more, via je voudrai que}.

If robots and aliens are more you style, io9 has an entire gallery of Star Wars Saints.

Empire by Scott Erickson

Imperial Saints by Patrick King

Pope Yoda from La Nuova Figurazione Italiana

These remind me of a photo I took at Nuit Blanche in Toronto 2007 of the modern day pièta with E.T. and animatronic Yoda:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Working with the Insects (& other animals)

And while we are on the topic of insects (Were we? Oh dear!), how about an artists who collaborate with insects, rather than using their, um, corpses?

Duprat's aquatic caddis fly larvae, with cases incorporating gold, opal, and turquoise, among other materials. Photos Jean-Luc Fournier. via Cabinet and boyfrendo

French artist-naturalist Hubert Duprat collaborates with caddis fly larvae. Like their relatives the butterfly, they develop their wings while in silk cocoons, but they often incorporate random items for strength, like grains of sand, minerals, bits of plant, fish bone or shell- or random things they find lying around. Duprat carefully removes these, but provides them alternative media like gold spangles, pearls, semi- and precious stones. The larvae make their choices, using different available objects in their aquarium, or re-purpose previous blinged-out cocoons. Duprat traces his work to 19th century entomologists, who similarly tried introducing foreign objects to insects. The work straddles that interesting art-science divide.

American artist-beekeper Hilary Berseth works with bees. Using a framework of wire and wave, he coaxes or suggests to the colony how to construct their hives.

Programmed Hive #6, 2008
Honeybee comb on board mounted on hive super, wood, urethane foam, wire, metal, paint, UV lacquer
24 x 24 x 48 inches (61 x 61 x 121.9 cm)

Programmed Hive #7, 2008
Honeybee comb on board mounted on hive super, wood, urethane, foam, wire, metal, paint, UV lacquer
47.5 x 29 x 26.5 inches (120.7 x 73.7 x 67.3 cm)

Canadian artist Aganetha Dyck also works with bees; she is interested in, "ramifications all living beings would experience should honeybees disappear from earth". She leaves objects in hives to be covered in honeycomb - a different sort of collaboration (a little more like Duprat, perhaps).

Aganetha Dyck, Queen, Beework on figurine of Queen Elizabeth II, 2007, 15 x 10 x 8", Michael Gibson Gallery, London, Ontario.

Sports Night in Canada: Helmet 2000, helmet, honeycomb, Kelowna Art Gallery

Shoes altered by bees

She also works with her son Richard Dyck to produce digital scans, like this one, of hives:

You may also enjoy the Finch&Pea article about artist Elsabé Dixon's collaboration with moths.

If you are interested in artwork by animals, check out Ottawa's SAW gallery. Currently, they are showing an exhibition called Animal House: Works of Art Made by Animals billed as the “first ever critical overview of animal art.” The artists include dogs, cats, elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas and a turtle.

David Ferris Sela paints by the temple 2008 © David Ferris

Kira Ayn Varszegi Koopa at work 2007

Insect Fantasia

This reminds me of The Artificial Kingdom: On the Kitsch Experience by Celeste Olalquiaga, a fascinating book tracing the history of kitsch and linking it to a sense of loss. In a sense, it's all about death. It seems to me that this installation is about loss of these insects and their habitat, loss of childhood wonder, and loss of Victorian 'innocence' (if such a thing existed).

{via bioephemera}

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Unicorn resurgence

So, if you watch the sidebar, or my other blog, you might have noticed I have unicorns on the brain. I have noticed that they are enjoying a (somewhat ironic) popular resurgence. The unicorn and its symbolism is rife with opportunities for humour. It is a mixed metaphor incarnate (or not). The unicorn is associated with purity and virginity, and yet has a potentially violent, phallic symbol on its forehead.

Mythic Equine Romance by eight bit

Unicorn with a Unibrow Riding a Unicycle by Laser Bread

by SirMitchell on etsy

Sit, boy, sit! Screenprint by John Martz

by Matty M. Cipov - matty8080 on etsy

Paint the Cow Pink by Joel Cocks

screenprint by Daniel Guerrero

by Bruce MacKay

by seafoodpunch

In which the gentleman attemps to step over the baby angora unicorn by the previously-blogged Michael C Hsiung

I love this gocco unicorn-narwhal Venn diagram by ArgyleWhale:

Where do baby unicorns come from?

by rabbitblast on etsy.

There are a slew of images of unicorns barfing - yes, barfing - rainbows, of course. This one:

by nutandbee on etsy (who also illustrates a unicorn sliding on a rainbow) and this one

is by rakka

There are also 3D ironic unicorn allusions, such as the uni-keet by melabo on etsy:

Of course, avoiding the twee, except with tongue planted firmly in cheek, we also acknowledge that unicorns are simply beautiful.

by StudioLyon on etsy

Origami unicorn, by photographer Grégoire Alexandre

This one is by printmaker Sonia Romero, sheridesthelion on etsy, for her lovely alphabet series:

My own take on this theme (Unicorn Amongst Umbrella, multimedia):
Unicorn Amongst Umbrellas I

An older, Deco image, just because:

uploaded by finsbry


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