February 3, 2012

A few cobwebs never hurt nobody

I have been away so long, there is a layer of dust on my blog an inch thick. What is that smell?... Oh. Oh, god! I forgot I had left the pork on the counter to thaw! Well, I won't be eating that. *blech*
It feels good to be back. I trust the multitudes have not abandoned me...?
*crickets chirping*
Ahhh. nice.
So, there was a point at the beginning of  December when I could have justified my absence by explaining how I had been in Japan for 3 weeks. Unfortunately, I spent the rest of that month hibernating with a blanket over the window, unaware of whether it was day or night the few times I was awake.
January marked my wife's return from Japan, and my return to the realm of the living. I was amazingly productive in the first month of 2012, creating 3 new works d'art and starting 2 others. All this while continuing my day job. What a person I am.
Japan left it's mark on me, again. There is a lot to take in for any visitor to the land of the rising sun. Moreso when you are 'philadvertistic', as I am. Yes, philadvertistic... a lover of advertising design. Go ahead and look it up. Its probably somewhere near the back of the dictionary. Or I made it up. In any case, I was influenced by what I saw and the piece I share today is a good example.
Woodblock printing has a rich history in Japan. You have likely seen the most famous example of this art style many times: "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa" (神奈川沖浪裏)

According to Wikipedia, it was created in the 1820s by an the artist known as Hokusai, though he had changed his name to Iitsu. He was 60-something at the time. If you will indulge me a moment, I want to share this quote I copied from Wikipedia. It shows how amazingly humble this great artist was.
"From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie." 
His Kanagawa wave painting has been borrowed from a million times, and I have no shame in presenting to you the latest such theft:

I am calling this 'Totari Oosamu' (totally awesome.) It seems to fit well with the small collection of paintings I have made so far. The photo is not great, and I appologize for that. It is, of course, acrylic on a fiberboard panel. The frame is made from cedar. I utilized a dado blade to cut the notches for the pieces to interlock.
As for the message in the upper left, it translates as:
An idea came to me:
   I should buy a puppy.
These words, too, are a reference to an artist of a different kind. A comedic artist known as Brian Regan. I will close today's post with the bit which inspired my words.