Gallery Show: Ornamentations of Gentlemen & Ladies @ Arts Rush, Daikanyama

Spring is peeking it's bashful head up from under the snow and chill.  Gentlemen and Ladies of all genders and predilections take this chance to throw off the chains of cabin fever and wander forth, feeling the still-brisk air on their cheeks for the first time since becoming wintery shut-ins.  Dressing properly for this weather is essential - but decidedly not simple.  After sidling into your tweeds and windbreakers, do consider adding the proper dash of spice with a unique accessory, a glittering piece of ornamentation - or a mid-sized piece of artwork for that extra splash of class.

Gallery of Artwork & Ornamentation


=Participating Artists • 参加作家=
Atelier K'z(Stone Accessories • 天然石アクセサリー)
あるちざんkumi(Laser Flower Art • レザーフラワーアート)
岩切等(Photography • フォトグラファー)
江島多規男(Accessories • アクセサリー)
斎藤桂一(Modeling • 造形)
羽者家大侑(Handmade Timepieces • 手造り時計)
原政人(Modeling •造形)
パトリック・ギャノン(Cut Paper • 切り絵)


the details:

紳士と淑女の小物展 [Ornamentations of Gentlemen & Ladies]

dates: Wed. April 1 - Mon. April 13, 2015

times: 11:30am - 8:00pm [doors shut 5:00pm on Mondays, closed Tuesdays]

place: Arts Rush, 1F 2-14-10 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 〒150-0021
tel: 03-3770-6786
gallery: website
directions: English map
directions: 地図

日付: 2015年4月1日(水)〜 4月13日(
時間: 午前11:30時~午後20時 [ 月曜日は午後5時閉店 火曜日定休日 ]
住所: 〒150-0021 東京都渋谷区恵比寿西2-14-10 トゥワォン代官山103
電話: 03-3770-6786
ギャラリー: ホームページ
アクセス: 地図

Tearing off the wrapper

Starting over is nearly always a bittersweet feeling, regardless of the circumstance.  There is, of course, the bright, rosy sheen of a hopeful future, rife with new possibilities.  However, That lingering scratch in the back of one's mind;  "Is this the right thing to do?" always remains.  Not to mention the realization that you never did all of the things you promised yourself you would do, followed by a quick vow that history won't repeat itself this time around.

The past few months have been a weird time for me, with a bunch of changes that have already tweaked my reality, and the seeds planted for others to cause real upheaval down the line.  I'm not sure how all of this will turn out, but there's a good chance that my art production will take a hit - at least temporarily.  I have a plan to combat that eventuality, and I'm committed to make it work.

The most immediate change, which I'm sure you've noticed by now, is this new website.  Served by a new host, with a bunch of new capabilities (and the matching shackles of restriction).  There'll be a whole new email provider too, which will be an adventure unto itself.

The previous site was my own baby - hand-coded from more-or-less scratch in an era where I had plenty of free time, and before the internet had transformed into what it is today.  It came at a time when I still thought of myself as an illustrator, dabbling in the world of galleries and "fine-art".  As such, it's purpose was different, and it evolved over time in an organic way - by which I mean that it grew weird protuberances and extra limbs jutting out at odd angles.  I'll always love that website; after all, it taught me, through trial and repeated error, how to code html and css, among other things.  

As time crept by, however, it became a bit ungainly.  Worse - and this is partly my own fault - the galleries hadn't been updated in quite a while.  It's not that I didn't have new art to show - just that getting it up there was a clumsy process which required time I often didn't have to give. Add to that the fact that, as I create work which is dedicated to an exhibition, I can't always update as often add I like.  

Enough with the past, for the moment,  Onto the future.

My hope is that the new website is easier for visitors to understand and move around.

  • Galleries are divided into collections, rather than years.  This makes much more sense, thematically, and hopefully shows off the connections between works which I have been concentrating on recently.
  • The About section is similar to the older site at the moment, but plans call for a new section for press and media - finally collecting it all in one place, with better images and more information.
  • The blog - well, that's a work in progress (I'll talk about that below).  I'm hoping that it can be more social, and more encouraging to visitors who want to comment.  Also, the text is bigger and prettier, so it should be easier to read.

A Work-in-Progress

There's a lot left to do before I consider the site complete.

  • There will be more galleries coming soon:  installations, pop.  And, as soon as I can get some work photographed, a secret one I'm planning.  Including at least one new piece which sold so fast that I hadn't had the chance to show it to anybody yet.
  • The blog - it's gonna be a mess for a while.  Because I imported my old Wordpress blog, a lot of the old links and images might break or disappear.  It's bound to happen.  I'll slowly make my way through, fixing the most important (art) posts first, until everything works.
  • The shop - right now, this is up-in-the-air.  I'm looking at a couple possibilities.  There's a temp shop I'm building right now, which will feed into Paypal.  Squarespace (my new web host) offers a shop system which accepts credit cards - but not Paypal.  I'm considering moving the basic items offsite - to Etsy or something like that - and keeping this website for the items closer to my own artwork - prints and laser cuts.  We shall see.
  • FAQ - I think it will be a nice idea.  Let folks know some basics about my process, how to buy art, that kind of thing.
  • Media - a collection of magazines, newspapers, videos, etc that mention my work.
  • Perhaps a News page with announcements to upcoming exhibitions?

There's probably a whole lot more.  I can't promise to get to these things immediately, but over time, they will evolve.  Probably not until the end of March '15 though.  The next few weeks are gonna be brutal, and I need to step back from the computer to survive.

You Can Help!

  • Notice a broken link on the blog... or anywhere. actually?  I'd love for you to let me know.
  • Misspellings?  Typos?  Weird nonsense?  Drop me a line
  • Thoughts on the shop?  Do you prefer Paypal, or would a credit card be a better option for you?
  • Anything else you notice, can think of, or want to say!

Thanks for your patience during this transitional time.  Hopefully I haven't broken anything irreparably.  That would stink.  More importantly, I hope that you come to love the new site, and that it can grow to show even more cool stuff.

I've been asked by other artists (and folks who want to get online) why I've made the choices I've had with this new site, and I'll be writing about those choices in the near future.  It's gonna be verbose.

Gallery Show: 蒼山日菜と日本の切り絵作家展 [Hina Aoyama and Cut Paper Artists of Japan Exhibition] @ Ichiba, Matsue

Click the image for detailed PDF / 詳細のPDFは画像をクリックしてください

Click the image for detailed PDF / 詳細のPDFは画像をクリックしてください

A few years ago, while I was in the midst of relocating from Tokyo to Fukuoka, I had the privilege of exhibiting at the Kirie of the World in Japan Exhibition at the Fujikawa Kirie Art Museum. One of the artists represented there was the wonderful Hina Aoyama. Not only is Hina an amazingly talented paper cutter, she is also a really impressive, charismatic person. If you ever have the chance to talk to her, don't you dare be shy.

Ms. Aoyama has invited me, along with five other cut paper artists to exhibit with her at the Ichibata Department Store, Matsue Branch from December 27th until January 12th.

The artwork will range from the impossibly small and delicate to the colorful and bold. It's an exhibition not to miss. I've even got a few pieces in the show that have never been exhibited before (20 pieces total, so it's gonna be a big show).

Which reminds me: If you've never been to Japan, now is a great time to come. Sure, the weather isn't as warm as it could be and the cherry blossoms won't blossom for a few months, but the Yen is really weak right now. Coming from overseas has never been more economical (I can't vouch for airfare prices).

As much as I'd like to attend the exhibition, Matsue is a pretty good trek from Fukuoka. If anything changes, I'll be sure to blog about it.

the details:

蒼山日菜と日本の切り絵作家展 [Hina Aoyama and Cut Paper Artists of Japan Exhibition]

dates: Sat. December 27, 2014 - Mon. January 12, 2015

times: 10:00am - 7:00pm [ends 6pm Dec. 31st, closed Jan. 1st, ends 5pm last day]

place: Ichibata Dept. Store, Matsue branch, 6th Floor, (Matsue Asahi-machi)

Advance Tickets: Adults 500円(same day 700円)• JHS students 400円(same day 500円)• elementary school students or younger enter free

contact: Sanninchuoshinposha Regional Promotion Bureau Culture and Sports Division
telephone 0852 (32) 3415

Hina Aoyama : official website
venue: website
directions: map

日付: 2014年12月27日(土)〜 2015年1月12日(月) 時間: 午前10時 〜 午後7時[ 1月1日は店休 • 詳細はポスターをご覧下さい] 住所: 一畑百貨店松江店6階催会場(松江市朝日町) 前売り券: 大人500円(当日700円)• 中高生400円(当日500円)• 小学生以下無料 問い合わせ: 山陰中央新報社地域振興局文化・スポーツ事業部=電話0852(32)3415

主催: 山陰中央新報社/協力 一畑百貨店

蒼山日菜 : official website 会場: ホームページ アクセス: 地図

Click the image for detailed PDF / 詳細のPDFは画像をクリックしてください

Click the image for detailed PDF / 詳細のPDFは画像をクリックしてください

Guest Shots: The 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale 2014

The 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale 2014, all artwork courtesy of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan

The 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale 2014, all artwork courtesy of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan

In moving from Tokyo - the center of population, politics, business, and culture in Japan - I had resigned myself to living with a dearth of musical performances, galleries, museum exhibitions, and global food. Imagine how happy I have been, these past few years, to be completely and utterly wrong. I revel in my misconceptions at every possible opportunity. Opportunities have been plentiful.

If you have the chance to bounce through Fukuoka before November 30, 2014, I recommend you stop by the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum to check out The 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale 2014.

Another Realm (Horse), Min Thein Sung

Another Realm (Horse), Min Thein Sung

The exhibition collects artwork of every possible genre; sculpture, painting, animation, video, multi/mixed-media, video games, collage, and more. What could have been a hodgepodge of disparate and incompatible ideas instead feels tied together by a strong social conscience as this group of mostly young Asian artists examine the present and look ahead to a myriad possible futures. Employed throughout is - and this may be my favorite element - a seriously quirky sense of humor.

Uterusman, Lu Yang

Uterusman, Lu Yang

Here are a bunch of links to info about the show and its artists:

Spine, Sunil Sigdel

Spine, Sunil Sigdel

深い森の誰も知らない国, Tanaka Chisato

深い森の誰も知らない国, Tanaka Chisato

アナハバナシ展, Yoshinaga Koutaku

アナハバナシ展, Yoshinaga Koutaku

Gallery Show: 魔女&ドクロス展 [Witches & Skulls Exhibition] @ Arts Rush, Daikanyama

There was a time when nearly every piece of art I made had a skull hidden (or blatantly smashed) in it. I've always had a special place in my heart for symbols and iconography, and the human skull is an especially powerful one: mortality, danger, and heavy metal all wrapped up in one bony dome.

It's always nice to be asked back to a venue. I'm happy to announce that a small selection of my artwork (alongside some prints, postcards, etc.) will be at Arts Rush Gallery once again, beginning Wednesday, November 11th, through the first of December. Eight artists will be sharing their work with the denizens of Tokyo, inspired by skulls, witches, and crosses. For all art lovers, beautiful chaos will be on display for 2 weeks.

the details:

魔女&ドクロス展 [Witches & Skulls Exhibition]

dates: Wed. November 12 - Mon. December 1, 2014

times: 11:30am - 8:00pm [doors shut 5:00pm on Mondays, closed Tuesdays]

place: Arts Rush, 1F 2-14-10 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 〒150-0021
tel: 03-3770-6786
gallery: website
directions: English map
directions: 地図

日付: 2014年11月12日(水)〜 12月1日(火)
時間: 午前11:30時~午後20時 [ 月曜日は午後5時閉店 火曜日定休日 ]
住所: 〒150-0021 東京都渋谷区恵比寿西2-14-10 トゥワォン代官山103
電話: 03-3770-6786
ギャラリー: ホームページ
アクセス: 地図

Proof of Time

It turns out, despite my being a denier for years, that time is, in fact, real.

The planet does indeed spin wackily on its axis while hurling itself in an elliptical orbit around a gargantuan nuclear inferno. The future materializes as the present which, in turn turn turn, ekes away into the past. We all walk in the fourth dimension.

This is good news for the 2015 Cut Paper Art Calendar. Not only is it chock-full of paper art, but it helps people keep track of what day it is. Bonus!

Since returning from my trip to the US, wherein I visited family (Hi, Mom!), my nose has been pressed hard against the proverbial grindstone, finessing into existence the rewards from the Kickstarter campaign...

...By the way, the 2015 Cut Paper Art Calendar Kickstarter Campaign was a Success! Thanks to all of the good, art-loving folks all around the world, 2015 will be a year full of cut-paper calendars, lasercuts, t-shirts, etc.

The calendar is available now for Pre-Order in the shop. We hope to begin shipping as soon as possible. T-shirts & LaserCuts will become available in due time as well.

2015 Cut Paper Art Calendar - Color Proof

2015 Cut Paper Art Calendar - Color Proof

Postcards, new & reprints - Color Proof

Postcards, new & reprints - Color Proof

The 2015 Cut Paper Art Calendar Campaign – Don't be Sheepish


Running from Now until October 3, 2014

The 2015 Cut Paper Art Calendar: Your annual recommended supply of paper, art, and imagination. Now with sheep!

That exciting time of year is upon us once again, when the Cut Paper Art Calendar Campaign roars alive on Kickstarter.

Last year was a huge year for us, none of which would have been possible without the support of art fans around the world.

We're asking for your support once again, and have been hard at work conjuring up awesome reward bundles and seriously stupendous stretch goals. Postcards, Giclée Prints, Lasercuts, original artwork, and possibly much more are being offered to our wonderful backers.

I'm a little proud of our goofy video too, for which I learned some simple animation. You will believe a doll can speak!

How It Works

The basic goal is $2200 USD (Reached!). That amount will cover the cost of printing 100 calendars, shipping materials and postage. I’d love to print more, but that will depend on how many calendars get snapped up. The deadline is October 3, 2014. The Kickstarter system is pretty straightforward:

You CHECK out the Project and decide that you adore it. You PLEDGE money – however much you choose. You pick a REWARD. Then you WAIT. The project has already reached it’s GOAL, so your credit card or Paypal account will be charged the amount you pledged after the campaign ends. I’ll CONTACT you for your contact info., your choice of rewards (where applicable), etc. Then I’ll SHIP out the reward(s) you chose. ENJOY.

Stretch Goals

Should we be lucky enough to surpass our goal, it will allow us to refill our supplies of rewards, knock out a bigger print run of calendars, PLUS we've got some very cool ideas to make this project even more fun!

Reached!, reprinting Postcard Pack 4

Reached!!, Stickers Thank-you gift. As backers increase, the stickers shall get bigger and more numerous (I'd like to offer 3)

Reached!!! the Year of the Sheep (er...it's a Ram) limited edition Laser Cut Print. see Rewards below

At $8,000 - T-Shirt! We've spent the last 2 months talking to t-shirt printers all around Fukuoka. We've found one we like, and we really really want to put a ram on a tee. Our plan is to do a print run of 100; of course, if we get a lot of orders we'll increase that number. We're looking at printing a full-color direct-to-garment design. The color of the tee will depend on which looks best. More info as we get close to the goal.

Cut-by-cut making of the Year of the Sheep LaserCut Art

Cut-by-cut making of the Year of the Sheep LaserCut Art

The Ram t-shirt prototype . The design may wrap around...

The Ram t-shirt prototype . The design may wrap around...

Guest Shots: Hokusai

Hokusai, all artwork courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Kitakyushu Museum of Art, Riverside Gallery

Hokusai, all artwork courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Kitakyushu Museum of Art, Riverside Gallery

It's a terrible cliche to say that it's not the destination, but rather the journey that expands our horizons. However, I don't know a cliche that explains what happens when one's plan to enjoy a long journey gets shaken up enough to change one's destination.

Train tickets in hand, we set out obscenely early on a Friday morning with a scheme to slowly make our way up the western coast of Japan, through Yamaguchi prefecture to Izumo and Matsue cities in Shimane prefecture to take in the Izumo-taisha temple and a road filled with statues based on Shigeru Mizuki's Gegege no Kitarō in Sakaiminato.

Hokusai musician at the Kitakyushu Museum of Art, Riverside Gallery

Hokusai musician at the Kitakyushu Museum of Art, Riverside Gallery

The universe, or at least the weeping clouds, had other plans. Only about one hour north of Fukuoka, in the city of Karatsu, the horrid weather conspired to strand us. All the local trains that we had planned to ride for the next 10 hours while enjoying the scenery were flooded out, bogged down, or simply refused to go forward.

Lucky indeed were we, that we had heard of the Hokusai exhibition at the the Kitakyushu Museum of Art, Riverside Gallery.

Curated by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, many of these pieces have not been in Japan since their creation. It was a truly spectacular show, including all of Hokusai's Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji (I think... I lost count), his waterfall series, flowers, a smattering of yokai, and other works spanning his lengthy career.

My Booty: the Exhibition Catalog, Ticket, and Mini-poster

My Booty: the Exhibition Catalog, Ticket, and Mini-poster

While the exhibition is no longer in Kitakyushu, it opens on 9/13 in Tokyo. I couldn't recommend this exhibition more strongly. Hokusai is a huge influence on my style and my appreciation of Japanese art, and seeing his work in person for the first time was exhilarating.

English Website

Japanese Website

Exhibition Poster

Exhibition Poster

Gallery Show: 妖し展 [Ayashi Exhibition] @ Arts Rush, Daikanyama

The Japanese / English dictionary I use defines 妖し [Ayashi] precisely in the following way:

attractive, bewitching, calamity

I cannot think of a better description for art, and the process of making art. Both the act and the result seem to be charming chaos (verb/noun) to create charming chaos (adjective/noun). Attempts to impose order, logic, or structure are all so much fairy dust and illusion.

It is fortuitous then, that such artwork is perfect for Arts Rush's 妖し展 [Ayashi Exhibition], opening this Wednesday the 13th of August. I'm thrilled to have been invited back for my second group show at Arts Rush (Neiro was the first). 8 artists in total will be showing a wide variety of strange, ominous, and beguiling artwork in a variety of mediums and techniques. I'm confident that the exhibition will be mysteriously amazing (or amazingly mysterious!).

Suspiciously, I shall not be in attendance this time. I hope that you will be, though, to witness the weirdness and beauty for your self.

Artists include:

the details:

妖し展 [Ayashi Exhibition]

dates: Wed. August 13 - Mon. August 25, 2014

times: 11:30am - 8:00pm [doors shut 5:00pm on Mondays, closed Tuesdays]

place: Arts Rush, 1F 2-14-10 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 〒150-0021 tel: 03-3770-6786
gallery: website
directions: English map
directions: 地図

日付: 2014年8月13日(木)〜 8月25日(火)
時間: 午前11:30時~午後20時 [ 月曜日は午後5時閉店 火曜日定休日 ]
住所: 〒150-0021 東京都渋谷区恵比寿西2-14-10 トゥワォン代官山103
電話: 03-3770-6786
ギャラリー: ホームページ
アクセス: 地図

The Coming Together of the Pulse & the Tremor

size: 13.8 x 7.3 inches / 350 x 185mm
medium: cut and torn washi and chiyogami paper on Kurume Kasuri Textile

It doesn't happen very often, but some days the ideas come almost too easily. The Coming Together of the Pulse & the Tremor, for instance, is a collaboration between my cut paper artwork and the gorgeous traditional indigo and patterns of Tsuru-san's Kurume Kasuri textile.

Mere moments after I'd been invited to work together on the exhibition and incorporate the fabric into my work (a first!), I knew what the theme of the artwork would be: Collaboration!

It's like walking through a low doorway and banging your head on revelation.

After all, the ways in which people and concepts relate to each other, positively, negatively or ambiguously, has often been a theme of interest to me. Internally or externally, strengths may build upon strengths in a harmony of action and thought. Discord detracts from the whole, pitching into chaos. All in much the same way that the correct colors and layers of paper can, with skill and luck and intent, come together to create an image; then inside that image, a flood of emotions and ideas.

At the same time that I was tossing around ideas for this piece, I was also working on some art for the Neiro (Tone) exhibition at Arts Rush Gallery in Tokyo. The ideas of tone and collaboration bounced off each other and swirled together into a semi-musical concoction based on images of sound waves and heart beats.

The Fiercest Raveling

size: 8.5 x 23.8 inches (approx.) / 215 x 605 mm (depth 20 mm)
medium: cut paper, washi and chiyogami on stained wood

While I cannot claim to be mother (or father) of dragons, your confusion would be forgiven based on how many have slithered through PaperCuts recently; whether forming from the foam of a waterfall or relaxing at O-hanami.

Truth be told, I was more than a little nervous to start drawing these reptilian beasts. It's not that I don't like the wyrms, mind you. I do. They're charming. It's more that I really, really, very much didn't want to make a bad dragon. And it is so very easy to draw a bad dragon. In junior high school, I scribbled out dozens of terrible drakes blasting fire at adventurers, burning villages, or rending hapless knights to bits with claw and teeth. There are many brilliant dragons in art both old and new, but like their equally fantastic cousins the unicorn, it's more than a little bit of a challenge to make these beasts one's own. How does an artist imbue such a long-standing symbol with personal meaning?

It helps that the Cats & Dragons Exhibition, for which this piece was originally conceived, had such a unique theme. It takes a pretty fervent imagination to juxtapose kittens and reptiles so massive they would make a t-rex soil it's undies.

Over the course of a few months, I went through a dozen different concepts of varying levels of awfulness before alighting on an idea, or rather a query, that made my brain grin. Where does reality begin and fantasy end?

Which is more real: the solid, physical and mundane, or imagination, spirit, and raw emotion?

The cats at the bottom of the piece are connected to the dragon, cobbled together from tenuous strands. Are they the earthly avatars of the great beast? Or is this colorful drake nothing more than the playful fighting spirit of a litter of kittens. Also yes, the visual pun about cats and string is entirely intentional.

Visually, it is always fun to play around with solidity and intangibility. The dragon has weight and density to it. The cats are monochromatic, slightly immaterial; they are inconspicuous relative to the colorful bulk overhead.

The color of the wood is inspired by traditional Japanese 屏風 (Byōbu) screens, which were often painted on top of gold leaf.

As an added bit of whimsical symbolism, the eyes of the frolicking felines are reflected in the sharply ovoid shape of the dragon's scales.

DETAIL: TEETH AND CLAWS

DETAIL: TEETH AND CLAWS

detail: kitten rumble

detail: kitten rumble

iridescence

iridescence

Sakura Blossom Season

size: 6.2 x 9 inches (approx.) / 158 × 227 mm
medium: cut and torn washi and chiyogami paper on wood panel
private collection / commission

Delicacy and power are not two words which are often associated with each other. The blossoms of the cherry tree [桜の木 / sakura no ki] for example, bring to mind fragility and impermanence. Dragons, on the other hand, are all fire and claws, shimmering scales rippling over sinewy muscle, terrible in their magnificence.

Still, there is a subtle and quiet power to the blossom which, having come untethered from its branch, glides slowly on the wind, inevitably and inexorably to the dirt below. It is nature's gentlest way of showing us that all beauty must whither, all life must end, all things shall eventually fade.

The dragon's roar may be muffled by the whisper of a blossom touching earth.

detail: teeth, scales, and hair

sketch: the shape of a dragon

sketch: a cherry tree

Photographic Evidence of TsuruFest

Photographic Evidence of TsuruFest

This past weekend saw the culmination of collaboration known as the Tsuru Textiles Festival 2014. While not the first time I've visited the lovely city of Kurume, Kyushu, Japan, it was certainly the most extensive. If there's one thing I can say about the creators and crafters of Kurume Kasuri Textiles and the visitors to Gallery Earl Gray, it is that their enthusiasm is vivid and contagious.

The Kasuri making tradition dates from the Edo period (mid 18thC), and is an ikat dyeing technique utilized originally by farmers to make everyday clothes that remain comfortable in every season. For me, the most intriguing aspect of this group of creators - and what ultimately drew me to the collaboration - was their desire to mix the traditional with the contemporary. While many of the patterns are time-honored classics, the colors and the construction of the clothing embrace modern aesthetics in a natural, elegant, and beautiful manner.

A small bunch of pics and explanation below the jump.

For all the pics from the event, check out the TsuruFest Flickr album

Read More

Gallery Event: Tsuru Textiles Festival 2014

click here or image for Poster PDF

click here or image for Poster PDF

Untold eons ago, when icy winds sliced across the arctic landscape and man and beast froze to death mere feet from shelter and the month was called February, I met some very talented textile crafters while accompanying my work at Acros Fukuoka. We chatted for a bit about art, paper, and fabric, and they mentioned possible future collaborations.

Like the fresh and fertile breath of Spring, that collaboration has arrived in the form of Tsuru Fest!

2014 will see the second annual Kurume Kasuri Textile festival in the city of Kurume in Fukuoka.

Kurume Kasuri Textiles Website

I'm excited (!) for a couple reasons

  • Collaboration: I'm experimenting with combining Kasuri textiles with cut paper! I'll be working small at first, but if this works out, who knows where it could lead.
  • More Collaboration: I've got some super-secret weirdo projects that, if they work out, will use some of the traditional Kasuri designs and patterns in cut paper.
  • The Kurume Kasuri people are super-nice & super-talented
  • I get to do a Demonstration on Saturday!
  • Workshop! Sunday!
  • Wine! Gallery Night from 7pm Saturday night
  • This:
Actually, more bashful than excited…

Actually, more bashful than excited…

Come by and enjoy the textiles, sewing, tradition, and paper! I hope to see you there.

the details:

Tsuru Textiles Festival 2014 | つるフェス第2開催

dates: Thurs. May 29 - Sun. June 1, 2014

times: 11:00am - 6:00pm [closes 17:00 on Mondays, closed Tuesdays]

My Demonstration: Saturday, May 31, intermittently

Workshop: Sunday June 1 from 1:00pm (reservations required / max 20 people )

Gallery Night (with Wine!): Saturday, May 31 7:00pm~

place: Gallery Earl Gray | Fukuoka-ken, Kurume, Tōrimachi 111-18 tel: 090-3419-0447 email: tsurufes@yahoo.co.jp gallery: website directions: map

日付: 2014年5月29日(木)〜 6月2日(日) 時間: 午前11:00時~午後18時 [ 月曜日pm5:00閉店 火曜日定休日 ]

デモンストレーション: 5月31日(土)

切り絵ワークショップ: 6月1日(日) 限定20名

Gallery Night (with Wine!): 5月31日(土)「PDFを見てください

住所: ギャラリーアールグレイ | 福岡県久留米市通町111-18 電話: 090-3419-0447 メール: tsurufes@yahoo.co.jp ギャラリー: ホームページ アクセス: 地図Google 地図

click image for Poster PDF

click image for Poster PDF

Gallery Show: 音色展 [Neiro / Tone Exhibition]

Those of you who follow my adventures on the various social media websites might recall my trek to Tokyo nearly a month past, for a not-so-top secret meeting. During my time there, I was introduced to one of the more intriguing gallery spaces I've seen in Japan, Arts Rush. Cozy and eccentric, the space reeks with atmosphere. Think: Japanese goth (more Through the Looking Glass, less horror) mixed with Steampunk, with just a hint of Tokyo modernity and a love for hand-made quirk. In other words, a very suitable ambience for my work.

I'm thrilled to have been invited to join the group exhibition 音色展 [Neiro], which translates as "Tone". The kanji characters for this word are great; they literally translate as "the color of the sound", which I might just have to use as a title to a piece of art someday. The exhibition also includes 7 other artists.

Unfortunately, I can't make the trip to Tokyo this time, but I certainly hope to be able to do so soon. This is just the first of two exhibitions in May/June; I'll let you know about the other in the days ahead.

In the meantime, please stop by, enjoy the unique gallery and shop, maybe pick up some new artwork, and drop me a line to tell me about your experience.

the details:

音色展 [Neiro / Tone Exhibition]

dates: Wed. May 21 - Mon. June 2, 2014

times: 11:30am - 20:00pm [closes 17:00 on Mondays, closed Tuesdays]

place: Arts Rush, 1F 2-14-10 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 〒150-0021
tel: 03-3770-6786
gallery: website
directions: English map
directions: 地図

日付: 2014年5月21日(木)〜 6月2日(火)
時間: 午前11:30時~午後20時 [ 月曜日pm5:00閉店 火曜日定休日 ]
住所: 〒150-0021 東京都渋谷区恵比寿西2-14-10 トゥワォン代官山103
電話: 03-3770-6786
ギャラリー: ホームページ
アクセス: 地図

Illumination Comes In On the Breeze

size: 6 x 4 inches (approx.) / 150 x 100 mm
medium: cut washi and chiyogami paper on wood
private collection / commission

Let's pause, just for a brief moment, to breathe in how beautiful the background blue paper is. It's not possible for me to give the washi paper-makers of Japan enough credit for their amazing work. Before my knife even came close to this, it was a piece of art.

There are times when inspiration comes from a thousand different sources, blended together into a purée of ideas, then strained down to a… hm. I was planning on using a food analogy to explain the immensely complex filtering and evolution of a universe down into a singular concept, but nothing apt comes to mind. Perhaps you can help me out?

Other times, a single conversation can kick off a train of thoughts that lead inexorably to a destination. Such was the case here. Illumination Comes In On the Breeze was created as a commission where everything I needed to jump into sketching was included in a single email. The only concrete detail was the love of dark blue. Everything else was subtext.

Subtext and somewhat gelatinous owlishness.

Work-in-Progress: early sketches

Work-in-Progress: early sketches

Work-in-Progress: composition sketches

Work-in-Progress: composition sketches

Work-in-Progress: final drawing

Work-in-Progress: final drawing

Portrait of Lady in Green

size: 10.6 x 13.8 inches / 270 x 350mm
medium: cut and torn washi and chiyogami paper on wood
private collection

I've often been asked why most of the artwork I create features weird and quirky creatures, spirits, or animals rather than, say, people. There are really a couple reasons for this.

The most basic is that I don't actually sit down with the intention of drawing (when I sketch) beasts. In my mind I'm drawing a feeling or a complicated amalgamation of things that have been bouncing around inside my skull. In the act of translation from abstract idea to concrete paper, these odd shapes are born.

The second reason is more intentional. Our eyes are trained, through experience and genetics, to see anthropomorphic shapes and people everywhere. When we do see these "people", we often empathize with them and want to feel a more personal connection. The first question on our lips is "Who is this, and what is their name?". In much the same way that it can be difficult to see past a real person's face to their interior motives, it can also be challenging to move past the painted portrait to recognize the concept underneath.

Recently, I've come to embrace this challenge and dabble with "portraiture" a bit more. The quotation marks are there because, at least so far, these have not been portraits of actual "people". Like the non-homo sapiens in my work, these are more representations of natural forces, ideas, and emotions.

The Lady in Green, for example, is a woman, certainly. A woman who is growing in self-confidence and recognition of her own power. This growth manifests botanically, organically spreading, rising, and flowering. Even the paper used in her clothing is shot through with actual plants creating that beautiful play of light and dark greens.

The face and hands are from two layers of chiyogami paper. The top is a sakura blossom pattern - another call out to the natural world. Under that is a layer of gold - which, admittedly, I was afraid to commit to at first (fear is often a good sign when making art). Now, the way the light shifts and the face transforms as one walks past the piece is one of my favorite aspects.

Here are some details from the work (which in itself is one of my most detailed works):

Detail: face

Detail: collar

Detail: hands

Work-in-progress: white collar

Portrait of Lady in Green, framed

Portrait of Lady in Green, framed

Press - Asahi Shimbun @ Acros Fukuoka

Many artists do not enjoy talking about their work. In a perfect world, the work would speak for itself and no further exposition should be needed.

I rather enjoy talking about my artwork - which is probably apparent by the length of my blog posts, and the eye-rolling of my wife. One of the most fascinating aspects of showing my work - particularly any work containing hints of ambiguity - is listening to the interpretations and stories spun by the visitors. Often, it contains hints of the original vision, filtered through the eyes of someone who has seen a drastically different world than myself. And then there are the times when their perception is entirely alien to my own intentions. And that's fine too.

Mind you, I'm not claiming that talking about our work is easy. I long ago realized that thinking too literally about the work makes it stale and stiff. I try to leave room in my own mind for mystery. So, when it comes time to explain the work, there have been occasions when I don't have a clear answer. Why is there a turtle on the cloud? Because some part of my brain told me that was exactly the right image in the right place. Going back in one's own mind later and deciphering the symbolism is a compelling process.

For a real challenge, I recommend explaining the work in a foreign language. Preferably one which you are not entirely fluent in. It's amazing how concise and focused the explanations get when an expansive and vague vocabulary isn't there to fall back on.

Such is often the case when I show my work here in Japan. A few weeks ago, Acros Fukuoka kindly granted me a space for an exhibition. By happy coincidence, an editor from the Asahi Shimbun, Mr. Shunsuke Nakamura wandered into the gallery. He returned the following day to interview me in Japanese and snap a few pictures. It was intriguing to translate my comments back into English and discover what I had said. Happily, nothing too ridiculous.

I hope you'll enjoy our attempt at translation:

Asahi Shimbun –Saturday February 15, 2014   A Profoundly Mysterious World of Cut Paper Art – American artist holds a washi and chiyogami cut paper art exhibition at ACROSS FUKUOKA   A collection of cut paper art created by Patrick Gannon, a 42 year-old American national residing in Fukuoka, is now being exhibited in the Message Foyer gallery on the 2nd floor of ACROSS FUKUOKA in Tenjin, Fukuoka.  Over 20 unique cut paper art pieces radiate a mystical feel in the venue.   Gannon was born in New Jersey in the US.  The literature major came to Japan for the first time right after college graduation. He later returned to the US to study Art in graduate school, where he first encountered cut paper art.  After coming back to Japan and spending 5 years in Tokyo, about 3 years ago he relocated to Fukuoka, hoping to lead a more relaxing life at a slower pace.  Now he spends his time creating cut paper art and occasionally teaching.   His art is mystic and mysterious.  It takes you deep inside forests and to the bottom of dark Oceans, where one can see floating spirit-like creatures or colorful dragons, whales and horses, all intricately and precisely cut.  Gannon has a strong interest in myths and fables but his art is nothing like what you imagine you would see in books concerning such subjects.  They are creatures shaped by his thoughts and mind.   He uses mostly Japanese handmade (washi) and patterned papers (chiyogami) for his art.  “They are so beautiful that I fell in love with them” said Gannon.  His cut paper art is sometimes glued atop pieces of natural wood.  “I hope that, when people see my artwork, they can each see something different and unique which expands their imagination” said Gannon looking at his collection of MAKAFUJIGI 「摩訶不思議」 cut paper art.  (by editor, Shunsuke Nakamura)

And here's the original Japanese:

朝日新聞 2014年2月15日(土)   摩訶不思議な世界 切り絵に - 米国人作家、和紙・千代紙で作品展 アクロス福岡   米国出身で福岡市在住の切り絵作家パトリック・ギャノンさん(42)の展覧会が、福岡・天神のアクロス福岡2階メッセージホワイエで開かれている。個性的な切り絵作品20点余りが、神秘的な雰囲気を醸し出している。   ギャノンさんは米国ニュージャージー州生まれ。大学で文学を学び、卒業後に初来日。いったん帰国し大学院でアートの勉強をしていたとき、切り絵に出会った。数年前再び来日し、東京で5年間過ごしたあと、3年前にもう少しリラックスしたいと福岡に移住。英会話を教えながら切り絵製作に取り組んでいる。   その作品は神秘的だ。深い森や海底を思わせる光景に、カラフルな竜や鯨、馬のような動物が繊細なテクニックで切り取られ、精霊のような、なんとも奇妙な生物が漂っている。神話や寓話に強い関心があり、その反映のようだが決して写実的なものではなく、頭の中からわき出てきた造形なのだという。   使うのは、ほとんどが和紙と千代紙で、「本当に美しい。和紙にフォーリン・ラブです」とギャノンさん。輪切りにした木に切り絵を施したものもある。作品群の摩訶不思議な世界に、「見る人それぞれに想像をふくらませてほしい」と話している。16日まで、入場無料。 (編集委員・中村俊介)

Bound for Eternity

The To-Be-Scanned pile is ever so slightly shorter today. Over the past couple of years, a formidable jumble of exhibition catalogs, books and printed paraphernalia has staked a claim to a corner of the studio. In an attempt to update my website's Press and About pages, I blew the dust off of my scanner and spent a few hours breaking the spines of pretty books. One of these days, I hope to add a full blown gallery of these to the website.

Until that far-off, utopian dream of a future comes to pass, please enjoy the first few glimpses of yesteryear.

The New Encyclopedia of Origami and Papercraft Techniques by Ayako Brodek and Claire Waite Brown - front cover

The New Encyclopedia of Origami and Papercraft Techniques by Ayako Brodek and Claire Waite Brown - front cover

The New Encyclopedia of Origami and Papercraft Techniques by Ayako Brodek and Claire Waite Brown - interior

The New Encyclopedia of Origami and Papercraft Techniques by Ayako Brodek and Claire Waite Brown - interior

Gyeongnam International Art Fair 2013 Catalogue - Front Cover

Gyeongnam International Art Fair 2013 Catalogue - Front Cover

Gyeongnam International Art Fair 2013 Catalogue - interior

Gyeongnam International Art Fair 2013 Catalogue - interior

2013 International Kirie Art Competition in Minobu, Japan Catalogue - front cover 国際切絵コンクール・イン・身延 ジャパン

2013 International Kirie Art Competition in Minobu, Japan Catalogue - front cover
国際切絵コンクール・イン・身延 ジャパン

2013 International Kirie Art Competition in Minobu, Japan Catalogue - interior 国際切絵コンクール・イン・身延 ジャパン

2013 International Kirie Art Competition in Minobu, Japan Catalogue - interior
国際切絵コンクール・イン・身延 ジャパン