EDO POP: THE GRAPHIC IMPACT OF JAPANESE PRINTS
March 9,2013（Sun）to June 9,2013（Sun
Japan Society Gallery
333 East 47th StreetNew York
I was already interested in ukiyo-e in my high-school years. I was particularly drawn to ukiyo-e with a graffiti sensibility, like Hokusai manga and Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s caricatures of Kabuki actors. It was an instant attraction to me because I was drawing at the time in a manga style using strong lines and flat forms. I thought of studying fashion in college but began focusing on textile arts and the traditional dyeing technique of yu¯zen, which was developed during the Edo period. Ukiyo-e started to interest me more because it emerged during the same period as yu¯zen in the history of Japan.
To me, ukiyo-e is a hybrid of artistic expression and a record of reality. I learn from different aspects of works by Hokusai, Hiroshige, and Kuniyoshi, including color, form, composition, layering of picture planes, perspective, and style. For example, 24 Hour Lights I and 24 Hour Lights II in the Edo Pop exhibition pay homage to Hokusai’s dynamic compositions from his series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji while Tokyo Tower relates to the tradition of caricatures.
I try to be as objective as possible when I choose my subject. There are often references to current social and economic events in my work, but I am less interested in expressing my personal opinions than being like a mirror, reflecting various contemporary situations in my images. I have such a strong respect for the past ukiyo-e artists, and my future goal is Hokusai-goe (overcoming Hokusai).