Evening Aisatsu

Evening Aisatsu cut paper art by Patrick Gannon

cut and torn paper on wood42 x 29.7 cm ( about 16 1/2 x 11 3/4" ) private collection To see the big woods, click here!

Meeting someone for the first time is an intricate dance, fraught with peril.

Okay, maybe not fraught exactly. And perhaps peril * is too strong a word. But none can argue that there are metaphorical landmines in need of stepping over and symbolic crocodiles best avoided. In other words, it can be a tricky, awkward, and somewhat uncomfortable situation at times. Especially for those of us not blessed with the smooth socialization gene.

Japan throws it's own twist into the first meeting. The language you use and the depth of your bow is dictated by your relationship to the 相手 (aite = the other party). Your relationship is, in turn, defined by your respective ages, jobs, friends, social standing, gender, what you want from each other, and how much hair you still have. Luckily, it's often possible to fumble through with an embarrassed grin and some kind words. Alcohol helps too. Also, always make sure you bow one more time than the other guy. This can take awhile.

It's a rare and wonderful thing when ideas pop into my head fully formed. This was one of those images. I played around a little bit with the poses and positions, and the level of surprise but, all in all, the concept for this piece flowed in smoothly. The color scheme was another matter entirely. I knew that I wanted to have an "evening" feel. I hadn't decided, however, whether to go with an eery, mysterious, foggy evening or a clear, rosy sun-setting-behind-the-trees, joyfully relaxed evening. In the end, I chose the latter. But not until I had tried every possible color combination.

Below, you can see a few of the ones I didn't pick. The camera didn't pick up the color so great, but you can get the idea. The thing about color is that none of these color sets are intrinsically wrong. They just weren't communicating the emotion I was looking for. I still like the wood background...

Evening Aisatsu color sketch by Patrick Gannon
Evening Aisatsu color sketch by Patrick Gannon
Evening Aisatsu color sketch by Patrick Gannon
Evening Aisatsu color sketch by Patrick Gannon

*Look, let me go back in there and face the peril. No, it's too perilous.