Japanese manga artist Junko Mizuno depicts the “Seven Lucky Gods,” a once-disparate group of deities that became a unit through Japanese art history, in a new show at Alhambra, Calif.’s Gallery Nucleus. Although not traditionally this way, “Takarabune” transforms all of these gods of fortune into women, translated in Mizuno’s vibrant style. The show runs through Jan. 8 at the gallery. Mizuno was last featured on HiFructose.com here.
It is in Keiichi Tanaami’s personality to take even the darkest of his life’s experiences and turn them into positive expressions. The Psychedelic Japanese artist’s sensational paintings of crazy characters engaged in the chaos of war has made him a leading art figure not just in Japan, but all over the world. We recently featured Tanaami’s intensely visual work in Hi-Fructose Vol. 38, where he shared with us the origins of his art, and the deep effect that his wartime experiences has had on his psyche. In this rare interview, Tanaami tells us more about his dark past and the myriad of international influences on his work to date.
Nanzuka Gallery in Tokyo is currently showing “An actress is not a machine, but they treat you like a machine”, a solo exhibition of new works by Hajime Sorayama. The prolific Japanese artist has created a series of paintings modeled after American actress Marilyn Monroe, in addition to three-dimensional manifestations of his renowned “Sexy Robot” series. The artist started this series back in 1978 and has been his most successful and recognizable body of work ever since. Following the Japanese focus on technology and science, along with his unique view of sexuality and female beauty, these works helped Sorayama establish his worldwide reputation.
Yoshimitsu Umekawa’s photographs look like pictures of a pop-colored apocalypse. The forms in his images appear vibrant and swirling at first, but then evoke an underlying darkness. In the studio, Umekawa’s process is similar to another photographer, Kim Keever, creating images inside of a fish tank and then coloring them digitally. His ‘clouds’ come in a variety of colors and iterations, and he has photographed 100 of them so far. He calls them “Incarnations”- visible parts of his experience as a young person living in Tokyo, with a nod to Japan’s past which is no stranger to catastrophe.
Every year in Niigata, Japan, artists take the leftover straw from their annual rice harvest and turn it into works of art. Called Wara art, or Rice-straw art, aspiring young artist Amy Goda has been creating such works since 2013. Her latest series featuring giant animals was completed last week and has already gone viral. Measuring 16 feet tall, they are her largest to date, fashioned after a roaring T-rex and tricerotops, and other animals like a coiled cobra, a crab clapping its claws, and even a rubber ducky.
After painting mostly around his homeland and some cities in Europe, Barcelona-based artist Pejac (covered here) recently took off on a tour around the Far East. During his trip, he stopped in Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo, leaving his mark in every city. From introducing new images and concepts to recreating some familiar ones, Pejac demonstrates his ability to work in different environments or mediums. Covering various subjects, mostly referring to the places he’s visiting, the new works Pejac has created range from effective window-drawings to sculptural pieces.