some rearranged daily icons bring a tough message.
“All of the following 6 kakejiku were handmade for ‘The Misappropriation Of Culture‘, a solo show I held at galerie popelier in February 2022. The base for all, was a design created in Photoshop and printed on wallpaper. Some painting in acrylics and spray can paint was needed for the well known characters in order to get around copyright issues. The printing company was not comfortable with parody even though it was acceptable in law.”
The artworks are approximately 750 x 450mm and
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‘We Cherish Nature Until It’s Time To Go Home’
“Human beings are naturally hypocritical. We cannot help ourselves. Along with violence, hypocrisy is a constant in our lives. It is who we are. One of the greatest conceits is that Japanese people, as a whole, are a nation of nature lovers, at one with their non-urban surroundings. Every year, people throng to see the beautiful cherry-blossom, a brief period of pleasure spent with family and friends. And every year, the piles of rubbish, empty bottles and cans and food scraps, gets bigger.
In this piece, I take my version of very traditional imagery, inspired by the Rinpa (琳派) school of Japanese painting, and marry it with a Tetris-like wall of empty beer cans. You can imagine the rest.”
‘This Is Not Art. No More Cats’
“In Osaka, in the rental art galleries, there is an endless conveyer belt of ‘cats‘. I can’t call it art. Drawing, painting, or taking photographs of a cat, your cat, any cat, is just too easy and mindless. And yet, it never ends, week after week, hobby artists patting each other on the back and gushing ‘kawaii‘. It is so very tedious.
Therefore, I decided to kill off Japan’s most famous cat in this piece, in an effort to shout out that ‘enough is enough, Kitty is dead, let this be the end‘. Everyone just ignored me.”
‘Minimerica: The Theme Park Is Burning’
“Before the Corona Virus Pandemic, Japan was becoming a theme park, overseas tourists searching out ‘real‘ ‘authentic‘ Japanese culture, a repetitive cycle seen through smart phone screens and regurgitated as social media uploads. Just what is authentic these days in Japan? The onslaught of, predominantly US culture, is relentless and all consuming. Very soon, if not already, everything will become saturated and generic. Non-Japanese YouTubers who live in Japan are part of the problem, constantly packaging their unoriginal videos and feeding the easy stereotypes and tropes.
At the moment the average Japanese person, however, is struggling to hold their head above water, and these foundations of the theme park may crumble. This piece is a vision of a future Japanese flag ‘Hi No Maru‘, but one I hope never comes true.”
‘I Popped My Sterry Char’
“The packaging of the most simple of objects, transforming them into a must have luxury item, is very much a part of Japanese culture. Here I took the idea of a simple ‘shuriken‘ a ninja throwing star, and dressed it up, making it a decoration, a bauble to dazzle the masses, and I’ll make it so exclusive that people will trample over each other to get it. It will still be just a shuriken, though.”
‘What Starving Children?!’
“Currently, at the time of writing (Jan 2023), many Japanese children are not getting enough to eat. In fact, it is only at school, at lunchtime, that they get to eat anything at all. It is a social problem which is often overlooked, or ignored. The government encourages adults to have more babies, but it is hard when you struggle to feed the ones you already have.
This is the character from a well known ‘miso‘ paste brand. I simply turned his mouth upside down and emptied the bowl.”
‘My Priorities Are Alright’
“World events during the last few years have greatly affected the availability of items we need for a comfortable daily life. Industries have had to contend with many problems, especially supply chain issues. At the moment, food has only been affected by rising costs. What if this was to change? What if food that we take for granted is no longer available? In Japan, agriculture has been allowed by the government to shift its focus away from staple crops to producing greatly over priced non-essential vegetables and fruit. Are water melons that cost hundreds of dollars, artificially shaped for maximum novelty value, going to help when rice becomes difficult to obtain? Will farmers return to growing less profitable crops if grains become too expensive to import? Food security for any country should be a priority now, especially for a country like Japan that imports so much of its food. The character in this piece is Uncle Carl from a well known potato chip snack in Japan, and two poses were combined to create this one.”
The Original ‘The Misappropriation Of Culture‘ Kakejiku
“Spring (The Misappropriation Of Culture Part 1) 2019, Midnight (The Misappropriation Of Culture Part 3) 2018, Autumn (The Misappropriation Of Culture Part 2) 2019 were the original concept artworks, used mainly for experimentation with using different materials, such as recycling old kakejiku bought in Shitennouji Antique Market in Osaka, Japan. Part 1 is currently in Madrid, Spain and Part 2 is currently in Amman, Jordan. Part 3 is in Osaka waiting to be framed. Actually, preceding Parts 1 & 2, were earlier versions that were completely very quickly and shown in a group show at AIDA Gallery in Osaka in 2016. Once they were placed on the wall, I realised that they were very bad quality and vowed to do them again properly. Which I did 3 years later.”