Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reflections on Japanese Playing Cards

Illustration, 1977

"Artists of my generation tend to try things that are beyond their genres.
 A crossbreeding of different styles results and distinctions among different art forms
 become blurred. Artists often feel that they can leap into different genres and explore
 an unknown world. If we take fine art and graphic design more openly, a theatrical space
 is also an artistic space. But in today's age of specialization, it might be only us, 
the "WWⅡ generation" who started from a wide stretch of burned ruins, 
that have this conception about artistic styles." Kiyoshi Awazu

Hokusai patterns and awazu colors, 1981

On April 29th last year, Kiyoshi Awazu died of pneumonia in Kawasaki, Japan 
at the age of 80. A self taught painter and graphic designer, Awazu was a man full 
of curiosity and imagination. Born in Tokyo, he started working at 12, and soon 
became interested in Christianity, philosophy, communism and western cinema. 
At 18 he started to teach himself drawing by copying from old art magazines and sketching
 fellow commuters on the train to work. At 21 he started working in the animation field 
making rough sketches, and at 25 had his first opportunity to design a poster,
 commissioned by a theater group. He went on to become a famous multifaceted 
graphic designer and artist involved in book design, illustration, printmaking, painting,
 sculpture, exhibition and urban design, playwriting, film production and art direction.

Awazu also wrote extensively on design and fine art. In 1981 he was the art director 
of the fantastic "Great Japan Exhibition" at The Royal Academy of Arts in London. 
In the same year he held the "Kiyoshi Awazu One Man Show-Printed Works" at 
50 Earlham St. Gallery in London, and produced a series of 12 wood cut prints inspired 
by traditional art forms titled "Reflections on Japanese Playing Cards". 
All the information and card pictures come from the well designed and extensive 
Kiyoshi Awazu website, where you can learn and see a lot more of this wonderful artist.







And if you haven't seen them already, check out the posts featuring Awazu's more 
wildly experimental artworks at A Journey Round my Skull's and But it Does Float.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails