Posts Tagged "Star Wars"
Welcome to the first edition of Artventure: your weekly blog for everything Art and Adventure.
Whilst working at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, I am always assured to be surrounded by two things. The first is fellow Asians. The second is art.
I like to think of it graphically:
Currently, the SAAM has a fantastic exhibition titled Fleeting Beauty. As an astounding collection of Ukiyo-e, or Japanese woodblock prints, this exhibition embodies the most iconic images of the ‘floating world’ between the 18th and 19th centuries.
Ukiyo-e prints became popular in the cosmopolitan era of the Edo period because of their affordable and relatable nature. The subject matter was often of urban life, particularly depicting scenes of prominent social figures. As a social commentary, woodblock prints often hinted at the ephemerality of the Japanese entertainment world using a masterful balance of delicate ink lines with evocatively rich blocks of colour. Whether the subject be geishas captured demonstrating the art of the fan, or Kabuki actors gracing the stage in drag (as denoted by a purple cap), Ukiyo-e often illustrated a lifestyle divorced from the mundane realism of ordinary life.
As a medium, a master copy was first inked by legendary artists such as Hiroshige or Utamaro, and then passed down a line of production where assistants would skillfully craft woodblocks from the original to mass produce prints. The economic and social accessibility of this medium cemented Ukiyo-e as the standard in Japanese aesthetics up until the Meiji period in the 20th century.
With one exception: Steve Bialik.
A cartoonist, Bialik has produced a series of Ukiyo-e inspired prints titled ‘Samurai Wars’ that depicts the cast of Star Wars through the guise of Japanese folk monsters. As a modern day re-interpretation of the Ukiyo-e aesthetic, Bialik has cleverly situated contemporary popular figures with a commentary on what we today designate as culturally relevant.