Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World
MARCH 8 – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014
About the Exhibition
Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World explores the artistry of traditional Japanese tattoos along with its rich history and influence on modern tattoo practices in this groundbreaking photographic exhibition.
As Japanese tattoos have moved into the mainstream, the artistry and legacy of Japanese tattooing remain both enigmatic and misunderstood. Often copied by practitioners and aficionados in the West without regard to its rich history, symbolism, or tradition, the art form is commonly reduced to a visual or exotic caricature. Conversely, mainstream Japanese culture still dismisses the subject itself as underground, associating it more with some of its clientele than with the artists practicing it. Both of these mindsets ignore the vast artistry and rich history of the practice.
Although tattooing is largely seen as an underground activity in Japan, Japanese tattoo artists have pursued their passions, applied their skills, and have risen to become internationally acclaimed artists. Through the endurance and dedication of these tattoo artists, Japanese tattooing has also persevered and is now internationally renowned for its artistry, lineage, historical symbolism, and skill.
Curated by Takahiro Kitamura and photographed and designed by Kip Fulbeck, Perseverance is a groundbreaking exhibition and the first of its kind. Perseverance will explore Japanese tattooing as an art form by acknowledging its roots in ukiyo-e prints. This exhibition will also examine current practices and offshoots of Japanese tattooing in the U.S. and Japan.
Perseverance features the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, Horitaka, Horitomo, Chris Horishiki Brand, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken, along with tattoo works by selected others. Through the display of a variety of photographs, including life-sized pictures of full body tattoos, these artists will cover a broad spectrum of the current world of Japanese tattooing.
Mariko Gordon and Hugh Cosman
UCSB Academic Senate
UCSB Department of Art
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation
SHIGE (Shigenori Iwasaki) is a famous tattoo artist, born in 1970 in Hiroshima.
After being a mechanic for Harley-Davidson in Yokohama, he taught himself how to tattoo since 1995 and pursues original Japanese Style with a traditional inspiration.
Check out the IREZUMI art show at Space 15 Twenty in Hollywood, CA. The show is up until October 20th.
IREZUMI is a group art show featuring original Japanese Tattoo art works from around the world. Artists include: HORIYOSHI 3, BOB ROBERTS, HIROSHI HIRAKAWA, MUTSUO NAKABAYASHI, GANJI, NAMI CHANG, MIKE ROPER, MIYAZO, BRIAN KANEKO, SMALL PAUL & more!
By Chet Zar
I only discovered the tattoo community about 3 years ago when I was invited by tattoo artist Jon Lane to paint live at 2009′s Visionary Tattoo Art Festival. I was impressed from the start. Not only were these artists creating truly cutting edge art work on skin (conceptually, tattooing blows every other artistic statement out of the water, in my opinion), they were also painting as good as or better than a lot of well known contemporary painters I’ve seen. I was truly blown away at the variety of styles, techniques and ideas and wondered why I wasn’t seeing a lot of this stuff at the galleries I was showing at and going to, especially when a lot of the artists were expressing interest in showing at these galleries… (more…)
By Dave Allen
Last year’s devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan deeply affected everyone in our industry. It would be hard not to be. More than 20,000 dead and 100,000’s left rebuilding. As a community we banded together and raised money for relief efforts. After a full year it is still apparent that people in Japan could use our help… (more…)
By Anthony Iannucci: Over one year ago, a massive 9.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan, birthing a devastating tsunami that had swept over the cities and farmland in the north-east part of the country and set off warnings as far away as the west coast of the USA and South America. The death toll high and the long-term impact still in question, the citizens of Japan were in great need of assistance and support from the world community. That need still exists today. During the year since this event, good and compassionate people from all over the globe have helped in various ways whether it be donating independently, to massive fund-raising drives… (more…)
[More info on expanded page]
By Diamond Jim
What has happened and is still happening in Japan is for us an unthinkable nightmare. Sadly it is not a dream anyone can awake from. Most of us go through life half asleep, concerned with vacation time and whether or not we can afford the newest and best of things. Imagine these things being swept away from you and not knowing if your family members are alive. To survive a natural disaster is a horrifying experience. After you have survived you try to pick up the pieces and with the help of others you start anew. Our brothers and sisters in Japan are not able to do this because for them the disaster is not over; it seems only to be getting worse…
Interview by Nicki Kasper
Nicki Kasper: Do you explore other mediums, like paint? If so, how do you approach that? Do you market and sell them?
Horiken: Yes, I like to paint very much. I usually paint with acrylics on paper. I like wooden panels as well. I do try to do different things from my tattooing, I may use the same motifs, but I lay paintings out differently. And, I guess I use different shading and coloring techniques; some that may not work in a tattoo. And… yeah, I do sell paintings, I don’t really make a huge effort to sell them, but if someone wants one, I do sell them. When I was in art school, I studied art history. I am trying to study this more and I have the thought that maybe I can paint and draw, a bit separate from tattooing and make something new…
Courtesy of Anthony Iannucci: The Hannya mask is one of the most highly recognizable images of the 14th century Japanese Noh Theater. The masks are used to convey the identity and mood of the nearly eighty characters in the different tales of the play. The hannya mask is specifically used to represent a vengeful and jealous woman. “a woman scorned.” Her anger and envy have so consumed her that she has turned into a demon, but with some traces of her humanity left. The pointed horns, gleaming eyes, fang-like teeth, combined with a look of pure resentment and hate are tempered by the expression of suffering around the eyes and the artfully disarrayed strands of hair, which indicate passionate emotion thrown into disorder…
By Crystal Morey
When asked to do some interviews over here in Japan for the TAM Blog I immediately thought of profiling Kishi San from 56 Tattoo in Shibuya, Tokyo. In the tragic aftermath of the quake in Japan’s Tohoku prefecture, Kishi-San immediately went into action contacting his immense web of tattooers and organizing his motorcycle club, the 56 Syndicate, to assist in the still ongoing struggle. I sat down with him and Ako (owner of Ghetto Culture and brother to everyone in the Tokyo underground scene) for a coffee…
By John Niederkorn
Oh… Canada? The Northern Ink Exposure (NIX) ended a string of three successive tattoo conventions for me, which would explain this post’s extreme tardiness. It was my first time on Canadian soil and Kent had me super stressed about Canadian customs… Okay, lets get my story straight; “Hello, I’m here on ‘vacation’ and in no way will I be taking your crazy Monopoly money back to my country.” Luckily for us North By Northeast (NXNE) was the same weekend as NIX so I had a built in excuse…
[Pictures and full story on expanded page]
The biggest earthquake to shake Japan, since records began almost 150 years ago, hit the country’s northeast coast. That and the tsunami that followed has devastated the island nation of Japan. Japanese influence on modern-day tattooing is undeniably vast. The least we can do is some tattooing in return… (more…)
By Bill Waverly
From now until June 1st, 2011, I will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of all of the three Japanese colors I sell. These colors are Japanese Orange, Japanese Red and Japanese Pink. (more…)