Hiroki Tsukuda’s moody and graphical landscapes incorporate elements of traditional Japanese arts and pop culture imagery. The Japanese artist has been residing in Germany for the past few months while his current exhibition, “Colla Max”, shows at Warhus Rittershaus Gallery in the city of Cologne. We recently met with him at his temporary open studio space at Autocenter in Berlin, Germany. The project is part of an international residence program curated by Tokyo based art gallery, Nanzuka Underground. Despite the rare opportunity to travel abroad, Tsukada says that it has little effect on his creative thinking. His drawings exhibit a rather neo-futuristic world view, a futuristic re-imagining of the visual and functionality of rapidly growing cities like Tokyo, where he lives. But unlike other neo-futurism artists, Tsukada teeters visually between old and new.
The name Ed Hardy immediately evokes images of tattooed baseball tees with cartoon skulls and studded baseball hats worn by reality TV stars. But before artist Don Ed Hardy became one of the most polarizing brands in history, he was a young aspiring artist whose favorite past time was going down to the beach in Southern California and looking at classic cars. He eventually went on to study under legendary Japanese tattoo artist Horihide, an experience that had a profound influence on Hardy’s signature, ornate style. Today, Hardy is retired from tattooing, instead focused on non-tattoo based art like printmaking, drawing, and painting. This also includes new porcelain works and tapestries in his upcoming exhibition curated by Varnish Fine Art gallery in San Francisco, “Visionary Subversive”.
Numbers of women artists still rank low in gallery rosters, less than 50 percent, across the world. With the exception of a few like Yayoi Kusama and Yoko Ono, women in the Japanese contemporary art world have yet to earn equal recognition. This is largely due to the historical conception that women were not suited to become professional artists. A new exhibition at Jiro Miura Gallery in Tokyo is bringing awareness to 19 emerging international women artists. “Ephemeral: Territory of Girls”, which opened on July 25th, showcases new works by Jana Brike, Amy Crehore, Virginia Mori, Ania Tomicka, Emi Adachi, Fuco Ueda, Kaori Ogawa, Miki Kato, Kimi Kuruhara, Kozue Kuroki, Satomi Kuwahara, Atsuko Goto, Yuka Sakuma, Minae Takada, Tsubaki Torii, Yumi Nakai, Yuko Nagami, Yuki Nagayoshi, Mao Hamaguchi, Miho Hirano, Shiori Matsumoto, Eri Mizuno, and Yuko Murai.
Mixed media artist Lauren Brevner paints eclectic and fantastic portraits of women ornamented with a collage of Japanese motifs. Born of mixed heritage in Vancouver, she recently moved to Osaka to get in touch with her Japanese ancestry. Life in Japan has had a major influence on the self taught artist since. Not long after her move in 2009, she apprenticed under Japanese fashion designer Sin Nakayamal. The inspiration of his luxurious prints resonates in the the way Brevner dresses her subjects.
Japanese artist Hirabayashi Takahiro (not to be confused with Takahiro Hirabayashi) infuses his religion’s mythology with the experience of growing up in his oil paintings. Using “boundaries” as a central theme, his dreamy portraits examine borders between the sky, land and sea, man and nature, childhood and adulthood, and how we navigate them. His main subjects are young girls who serve as a guide or guardian for those in this inbetween state of being. Considering their young age, they share in this delicate state.
Japanese artist and founder of Superflat, Takashi Murakami, has taken over four venues in Ibiza, Spain for his latest exhibition: Art Projects Ibiza, Lune Rouge Ibiza, the Ibiza Gran Hotel, and restaurant and performance space HEART Ibiza. His presence there coincides with the opening of Lune Rouge Ibiza, the collection of Guy Laliberté, the Canadian philanthropist perhaps best known as the CEO of Cirque du Soleil. The artist will have a selection of older work on display at the Lune Rouge dating back to his “Arhat” series (covered here), including his massive 32-foot long painting “69 Arhat’s “Beneath the Bodhi Tree” (2013). The series was notable for its introduction of more historical Japanese art motifs in Murakami’s works, some of which can be found at Laliberté’s Casino de Ibiza.