Japan: a cultural journey

My documentary work on Japan has been largely a cultural and aesthetic exploration. I used sketches and photographs from a holiday in Japan as the basis for a number of printmaking and illustration projects.

Geisha Punk 

In Harajuku and Shibuya in Tokyo young women and men gather at weekends to shop and socialise. I was very struck by the (for me) eccentric mix of punk and traditional dress. The resulting reduction linocut was influenced by the combination of dramatic composition of Japanese woodblock prints. My iPad studies started with colour combinations from Japanese kabuki prints, before becoming a bit more muted in my final choice.

Japanese landscape, castles and temples

These are obvious subjects for images of Japan. In the temple drypoints I was trying to get something of the energy of Zen ink painting, combined with a bit of Hokusai – father of manga. The first landscape attempts the mistiness of Zen landscape while the second draws on the dramatic colours of Yayoi Kusama. 

Kiomi Uehara: jazz poster

This was a music poster project for Illustration 1. I was interested here in the mesmerising and evocative jazz music of Kiomi Uehara. The final image was very influenced by my earlier work on Geisha punk and collage studies of Tokyo.

I have very many more photographs that I hope to make into a ‘vintage print documentary’ at some future date.

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