2009 will be the 丑年 (ushidoshi), the Year of the Ox. Or Cow, if you prefer. Prosperity through strength, fortitude, and a level-head. Being a reformed farmboy, I haven't been impressed with either the intelligence or leadership of the domestic cow. I'm willing to give the much more commanding ox the benefit of the doubt, though.
You might notice a bit of a similarity to another piece of art I pasted together not-so-long-ago. As is often the case when I work, I end up with unused pieces. In this case, the bright red of the cow was left over from that project. Although I loved the color, it didn't work as well as the red and gold paper. That leftover piece gave birth to this idea; a more minimalist Ox for a clean, fresh New Year.
Truthfully, I'm a little torn about one thing. The best piece of advice I ever got for my art was to let the paper be paper. So many people beginning to work in cut paper make the same mistake I did; trying to force the paper to be/look like a different medium. When I finally allowed the paper to be true to it's own self, my work took a running leap forward. With that in mind, I'm a bit conflicted over the faux-sumi-e (墨絵) splash. It was so central to the concept that replacing it was unthinkable...but it broke one of the few rules I set for myself. Even though it looks hella-cool.
Here's the other Cow/Ox piece, On the Mountain’s Top, A Forest of Green. Let me know which one you like better!