Welcome to the Year of the Boar. The custom in Japan is to send out New Year's greeting cards (nengajyo to friends, family, business contacts. Beginning last year, I am trying to come up with a new design for each of the animals of the chinese zodiac.
Traditionally nengayo designs are light and loose, often using gorgeous Japanese fude brushwork. Paper (and my own art style) lends itself to a denser, more colorful style of art. I also try to squeeze in a bit of concept where I can. I wanted to give this piece a cool and wintry feel, while at the same time implying the rebirth that comes with spring - hopefully in the same way that the boar will bring prosperity and renewed life. The bamboo is used as a symbol of flexibility and strength and as such is auspicious, as is the red sun.
The boar itself (inoshishi) makes a great, bold image. Of course, being born in the year of the boar might make me slightly biased. With a little math, you can figure out my age now. Any guessers?