Friday, June 7, 2013

The Kabuki Continues

Nine moku hanga prints drying _ #2 from the Photobooth Kabuki series  

Number two from my Photobooth Kabuki series of four prints is complete; just in time for the inaugural online interview "Ten Minutes with an Artist" hosted by Chicago based artist and writer Philip Hartigan. "Ten Minutes" compliments Philip's widely popular "A View from the Easel" for Hyperallergic. Artists are introduced and give a brief show and tell of a current work in progress. (YouTube at the bottom of this post)

My latest woodcuts are based on Purikura (print club) type images from certain Japanese photobooths.  These photobooths can smooth and lighten your skin, make your eyes larger and "cuter" but often leaves you with a stip of pictures that bear little resemblance to your actual appearance.  In many you can add effects making you appear more like a character from a manga style comic.  The booths were developed to target teenage girls who edit their images then collect them into books.

Two solarplates initiated the layers needed to build the final image.

It's easy to dismiss Purikura as a teen fad, but I as I thought more about it I realized how strongly it relates to our photoshopped and airbrushed ideals of beauty.   

This impulse for manipulation of our body image also relates to the curation of image via social media where much of our lives must stand in comparison to everyone else's online identity.

I began with a strip of myself from a photobooth where the various poses I struck reminded me of a silent performance.  I then decided for this series to pay homage to Utagawa Kuniyoshian (1797-1861), an artist whom I believe much is owed as a precursor to modern anime and manga.

I searched his work looking for characters from his kabuki, warrior and caricature images for similarity of pose to graft onto my photobooth shots.

For this print I chose Kuniyoshi's Sixteen Year-Old Warrior Masayuki for the tilt of head, great hair and grimace.

The key block carved mimicking Kuniyoshi's style hair and grimace.

Detail of embossing - My "Kuroko" (invisible stage hand in this Kabuki)

Photobooth Kabuki 2 - ©William Evertson 2013 - 29.7 x 21 cm

YouTube of the context of my Photobooth Kabuki woodcuts from the +Philip Hartigan series "Ten Minutes with an Artist".

This piece and other prints will be part of my summer one person show in New Hampshire at the gallery in Gordon-Nash Library.  Details on my summer exhibit to follow in the next post.

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