A cup

Here is a cup with one of my illustrations printed on it. Kawachi Artist Materials had a run of Artist cups for sale, and this was the illustration I submitted. I don’t know how many actually sold, but I got a free cup none-the-less.

Calligraphy Practice

I wrote the words using liquid acrylic by Holbein. Then I just fiddled around with some textures until I thought enough was enough. Maybe too much… but I didn’t want to start over. Don’t read it without adding a some emphasis on ‘Now.’

 

Collaboration

My younger brother and I started a joint blog together, with Chihiro illustrating the characters and other images. Check it out.

Kawachi staff show

Chihiro’s work place, she works at an art supply store called Kawachi, recently wrapped up, well the final day is actually tomorrow, its first staff show. Here are the two painting/drawing that she submitted. They are not tributes to David Bowie, but, as she says, paintings done to process his passing.

 

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A portrait of David Bowie

After hearing about David Bowie’s death, perhaps as many others already have, my wife decided to draw a portrait of him. However, it is not a tribute to him, nor is it a ‘in memory of’ portrait, but instead is a portrait drawn as a way to process his passing. This was drawn without any prior sketching and rather quickly using Sakura Cray-Pas oil pastels and Caran D’ache wax pastels.

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A silkscreen

Here is a silk screen done by Chihiro. Silk screening utilizes a variety of stenciling techniques. The one used here to make the image is a masking film Rubylith, thus instead of a photocopy blocking out the image, the blocked out image was done through cutting out the negative.

 

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Figure in charcoal

Here is another charcoal done by Chihiro. The cropping, the bold black lines, the gentle shading, and the slight color all work together to make a powerful image.

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charcoal drawings

A triptych done by Chihiro using charcoal. She doesn’t usually draw abstract images, but these three here show her ability to easily explore abstraction. While they are a bit old, they are still some of my favorite drawings that she has done. Perhaps it is the unrefined quality of them that makes them attractive.

 

abstract charcoal

Characters from our comics

Here are two quick character sketches of two characters in our comics that we are collaborating on, which you can read here. They are Jun’s older sister, Claire, and Claire’s best friend, Andrea, both of which will appear many times throughout the story.

Claire is sort of tom-boyish, even more so than Jun and Andrea. A bit moody, and aloof at times, she is perhaps Jun’s only real friend.

claire

Andrea is a true dork if ever there was one, which at times makes her rather obnoxious. Though more sporty than either sister, she never buys into the jock mentality and stays friends with them.

andrea

Reusable bags

There are, perhaps, an innumerable amount of reasons as to why one should use a reusable bag instead of a plastic disposable bag when out shopping for whatever one might shop for. Yet it seems many forget that, even were one to agree with or know about these reasons, there are many who cannot afford the eight or so plus dollars to purchase one. Also the rhetoric employed by proponents of reusable bags often isolates or alienates people who might otherwise try to make the switch.

Indeed, it is a difficult switch in a lifestyle when so many of us have, and do still, grow up surrounded by convenience. Most don’t have the discipline to wean themselves from relying on convenience, more so if one finds themselves within poverty.

Even still, it is odd that I have rarely read about reusing the plastic disposable bags that reusable bags are supposed to supplant. They are still viable bags even after their contents are removed. Of course, they are more likely to have a tear form, or a sudden break that leads to catastrophe, as illustrated in this silkscreen by Chihiro, which she printed on a reusable bag. While not this reason alone, this reason is still a heavy contender as to why to switch to using reusable bags when shopping.

 

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Photo shoot of Fion

Fion is another one of our characters for yet another one of our stories that we are writing, and co-created with a neighbor of ours during our time in Portland. She is the protagonist of the story and is pampered by her father. This illustration is of her dressed up by her father for a photo shoot.

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Inked drawing

Chihiro is rather skilled with a crow quill pen and ink. It has always amazed me how she can get such thin, stable lines and bring out detail through the tedious and patient process of drawing line after line to create hair, shadow, or light. Here is an example of a drawing that she did using such a tool.

 

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Character creation

The process of character creation has always been interesting to me. I enjoy the slow process of sketching out an array of possible designs for the same character and whittling them down or merging them together to birth a new character. Then as the personality is refined, frequently so too is the costume and appearance of the character. Reiteration after reiteration

At least, this is what character creation seems to be to me, maybe not everyone. Indeed.

Below is a character drawn up and colored by Chihiro. She is a character from one of our many stories that we have thought up over the years. This drawing is one of many costume designs that Chihiro came up with for this character, dubbed Thousand Claw, and perhaps it is closer to a final design.

 

thousandclawcolor

A character

Here is a character design I drew up a while back for the possible creation of a 3D toy or what not. The idea was, and still is, to create a basic body that doesn’t change, other than the color, with a wooden mask that has painted on it various face designs. Here is the first.

 

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A look back

I looked back through some of Chihiro’s drawings and found a few gems, or perhaps images worth note. I thought why keep these hidden from view, so I will post these images from time to time until new illustrations are finished.

watercolor done in commemoration of our daughter's birth
watercolor done in commemoration of our daughter’s birth

What is behind the noise

On my little music player full of digital memories of sound I have some recordings of a poet-writer friend of mine reading his prose accompanied by computer synth music. I have listened to these recordings many times before and counting, but never before with the intimacy afforded by headphones until today. Perhaps the closeness to the voice brought me to a new understanding that previously eluded me. It was just me and his voice, as though he was speaking directly to me, as though his voice and my thoughts were the same.

I sit on the train digesting his words over and over and over again in my head. The train reaches Osaka Station. The doors open and flesh begins to flood in and out through the doors. It is a transfusion of sorts. I am now walking through throngs of people. Words of love, for that is what they are, continue to pour through my headphones into my brain. I hear each word as an image unto itself. I know now that art is simply an expression of love or the desire for it.

No matter the facade an artist tries to hide behind it’s only when the artist ceases their posing, admitting to themselves that they too are lovely, that they too crave to be someone whom another loves just because, can they create something truly free from themselves. All other work is a mask that the artist wears to flee from the reality that they are. Yet, like these words that now reverberate in my mind perhaps the artist is unable to fully conceal themselves. A bit of them always escapes into the critical eyes and ears of others. Left open and alone to misinterpretations. Perhaps just as my ears have with these words.

 

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We are all People

Sadly, racism seems prevalent throughout the world. What is equally sad is that many people do not realize that their actions or their words are racist. Chihiro and I have called this unconscious racism. The idea that culture provides people with a set of assumptions that we don’t have to verbalize internally or externally to act those assumptions out. Too often people make assumptions based simply from how someone looks, and their shallow understanding of another culture. When they act upon these assumptions, whether or not their intent is friendly, they are acting in a racist manner.

Unfortunately it seems, most people who do receive such comments are themselves unaware of the racism in play, either that or they simply brush it off with the thought; it’s ok, that is just how it is. But it isn’t. Acceptance of these minor offenses as “it is just the way things are”, perpetuates a sense of human interactions that is outdated and all together wrong. Indeed everyday we make judgments on everything that we hear or see or feel or smell or taste, but we should understand that our judgments are not always correct and should not always be acted upon. That a bit of thought is necessary when interacting with another person, another group or community, another nation. We should spend more time learning about each other, instead of assuming things about each other.

Since we are a multicultural union, and our daughter is biracial, they have felt the bitter bite of racism, and have seen the sheer lack of understanding that people have. Being in Japan, where the population is predominantly Japanese, we felt that we could try to educate the people here about racism, so when Chihiro saw a poster advertising designs for social awareness posters for the subways, she thought up this slogan, and Jeffrey put it together. Read the words, and think what it really means by we are all people. 

Value

I have been thinking about the world’s concept of value for awhile, and came up with a series of images to address the inequality caused by how we interpret value. If change is going to happen this is the first thing that needs to be addressed. Why try to solve a problem with the same thinking that created the problem? If we see that every one of us is equally valuable, and that every job is equally important, we will begin to understand that money is unnecessary and that there are better things for us to work for. Real, meaningful social and environmental change will not happen as long as we cling to our current notion of value, and hold pieces of paper as more important than someone’s life.