Flickr photos of this year’s Coming of Age day under the snow in Tokyo .
I like this photo because knowing that it was taken in Tokyo it looks very surreal to see a girl nowadays in her full expensive precious kimono, walking in the dirty city snow. There is a nostalgic feel to it i think. She is going to attend the Coming of Age Ceremony that recently occurred as it does every year in Japan.
“Seijin no Hi, 成人の日, ’adult ceremony’ in Japanese is the day where 20 year old people in Japan come of age and celebrate it through a ceremony that started as far back as 714 AD. It congratulates and encourages the new adults that have reached the age of 20 and reached the age of majority.”
Furthermore it shows how this traditional ceremony remains the same but the young adults have different requests and manage to alter it to still remain traditional but also contemporary with the times we live in.
This photo is actually what triggered my inspiration behind the research and consequently the concept of my Swarovski project piece because it made me wonder what it would be like if a Geisha from say the Meiji Era (1868-1912), where the profession really flourished, were to find herself in modern day Tokyo. She would have such a cultural shock to see how much change has taken place in the last 100 years.
To remain in context with my collection’s theme of globalization of the West in regards to the East and maintain a relevance with it, I will look at how the Geisha would have to adapt to this new society. Mainly in terms of traditonal versus contemporary. So in this photo the girl is wearing a full kimono but it is not a daily occurence, unlike for the Geisha who always wore one or some slightly less complex version of the latter. Consequently if the Geisha were to end up in Tokyo in 2013 she would wear more westernized clothes or as they were very young when they began their training maybe she would be just a teenager and have to wear the sailor school uniform, an iconic emblem of contemporary Japan. These are the kind of things that I am interested in.
The Geisha will no longer play her musical instruments instead she would go to karaoke with her friends or listen to music on her iPhone which she will carry everywhere with her. The girl in the photo is wearing the traditional wooden sandals which do not seem like the most appropriate choice in the city, anymore at least. Hence the Geisha would have to change that too and wear maybe the popular Ugg boots or high heeled boots. I want to imagine what the current 21st century counterparts of the objects and elements associated with a Geisha would be.
To make the final piece even more relevant to modern times I will use very advanced technology and 3D scan my Japanese (hopefully if she lets me!) friend’s face and then use that in rhino to build the figurine like interpretation of the time warped geisha. I will have to make it all on rhino and then print it but cast the parts separately so that I can add the crystals to the metal. The photo shows all the details and layers that a kimono has and i have to be careful to not lose details in the scale of the piece. It is also very colourful which is something that cannot be effectively reproduced on the 3D printed nylon but could be on metal if i were to cold enamel it after. ALSO the swarovski crystals will add colour and possibly be set in a way to create some sort of patterns.
GIRL FALLS INTO OPEN MAN HOLE WHILE MESSAGING by ALEX GROSS
Alex Gross is one of my favourite painters of all time, as is the genre that he belongs to which is Pop Surrealism, to which Mark Ryden, another one of my favourites, also is part of.
In this series he looks at Capitalism and Consumerism in our society, especially within his own, America, hence why it is very relevant to my collection. Furthermore he is relevant because he uses a lotof Asian influence in his work, he adds Japanese text in a lot of his pieces as well as mixing the traditional oriental aesthetic with the contemporary one.
There is a frequent reference to branding as he often has logos of brands like Fendi, Prada as well as Coca Cola and cigarette brands in his work. This is what makes his work very relevant to my own and our times, he addresses these kinds of social issues.
A recurring theme in this series is his characters’ usage of technology, namely cell phones which we are so enslaved and consumed by.
This piece in particular, even in the title, refers to people always being on their phone when they are walking on the street. A hundred percent engulfed by it, to the point where the girl in this painting is about to fall into a man hole.
The realistic factor makes the fantasy elements in this piece, the coral snake heads (also a common motif in his art) and sheep, seem even more peculiar and surreal.
The mix that he creates of reality and surrealness is what initially attracted me to his work because no matter how crazy his pieces may seem there is also a socioeconomical message behind it. In his own words:
1. Globalization and technology are responsible for wonderfully positive changes in the world as well as terrible tragedy and homogeneity. This dichotomy fascinates me, and naturally influences much of my work.
This elaborate painting by Gross is a good example of the elements that he uses in his work. It has a farm animal, brands, Asian element, a social message against capitalism and consumerism and Japanese text. It is the embodiment of the kind of work that he does and hence the reasons why I admire his work.
It relates to my collection because like his other work it incorporates elements of globalisation, especially of East Asia.
Furthermore he is capable of using the traditional Asian aesthetic/heritage along with the new American Consumer culture.
The colours that he uses, especially in this painting, are so vibrant and complex yet they do not overwhelm the viewer who I guess is used to seeing these big kind of billboard ads and has become immune to them.
It is ironic that under all these big buildings is a cow and an unkept meadow of pink flowers, it is a purposely chosen effect to contrast the urban city life element.
There is a lot of reference to pop culture, like the advertisement for the movie Die Hard on one of the billboards, the infamous Apple iPod ad. Even in my work I want to incorporate elements that we see in our everyday like but put them in a different context. Like the Chinese Coca Cola bottle in my Cherry Coke piece, it is a normal coke bottle but the logo is in Chinese and it has cherry blossom branches and flowers growing from within it. It was a kind of play on the expression, the root of all evil.
Furthermore Gross uses flower imagery in an unconventional setting and it is sort of how I was thinking of using them too. The flowers in my work would be a kawaii element because they are not essential to the piece (with the exception of the cherry blossom coke series) but I am using them to create an aesthetic or to tone down the message that the piece is conveying to make it less obvious. Flowers make anything look more innocent and one layered, even a gun for example would have a different meaning if flowers were applied to it. That is why they are important to my work, they help balance pieces and kind of side track the real meaning to not make it so blatant, in your face. I think that Asian society is also quite indirect and quaint compared to the European or American who are much more blunt and direct. So it would be coherent if the pieces told a story/message subtly and required the viewer or wearer to kind of peel away the layers to get to the true meaning.
I was attracted to this image because of my final Cool Diamonds piece which has the Chinese character for Beauty represented within it. Moreover I wanted to add the other aspect of my concept to the latter so the fact that this neon sign says both beauty and BUY is appealing to me because it makes me ponder as to how I could add the Western element in my ring.
I had thought to perhaps add small red stones to pavee the whole ring and then add enameled or stones in the shape of yellow stars (like the Chinese flag) to the piece but it do not think that it has enough space on it really.
I do not neeeed to add another layer to that piece as it works fine on its own, it is just that it bothers me that it does not represent my entire concept. In fact it only counts for half of the idea of my project!
I need to redesign it a bit and see what I can do to make it fit in better with the rest of my pieces and be an integrated part of the collection, even on an aesthetic level.
This photo made me also think that maybe the ring could say different things depending on how you wear it or else on the back there could be another character. Since the beauty character is Chinese maybe on the other side of the ring it could say something in English or in Latin like Buy or Consume. Or it could be like Beauty/Sells, Beauty/Consumes, etc.