I had my first solo show a few weeks back. It was at a small cafe that my ex-coworker’s mother runs. Nice place, though a bit out of the way. The show lasted for three days. Though most people who came were my friends and family, it was still an interesting experience. Luckily, on the last day a friend of the cafe propietor stopped by in the last minutes before I took down the show and bought a drawing, deciding rather quickly to do so too. Chihiro’s ex-coworker was the first who came on opening day, and thankfully she was chill enough to help install due to a unfortunate circumstance the morning of.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have been in a bit of a hiatus for a while due to a variety of reasons. We have recently moved back to Japan, and are still in that transitional phase, still trying to get a foothold. We now currently live in Osaka. Also, Chihiro has been pregnant since last November, which has been a long journey for both of us. While pregnant Chihiro finished her last classes to receive her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oregon.
During this time we have penned an array projects, and have started working on some. Our collaborative semi-autobiographical comic is slowly taking shape, the plot for Fiontech 3.0 is fully written and Chihiro has illustrated ten pages or so, my children’s book, “A Happening,” has been rewritten, and the roughs for the pages drawn, I am making sketches for another story and working on finishing a series of illustrations on value, and Chihiro has begun to delve more into her vision of social illustration. Of course there are plenty more side projects that are constantly springing forth from their mind, which with time and hope will be completed. Bit by bit, word by word, line by line, they are working to complete their dreams, and make their dreams a reality.
Also, to reflect our move to Japan, the addition to our family, and to simply try to re-envision ourselves, I designed a new logo for Studio Something. A more crisp feel than before, that will lend to a better ‘branding’ of Studio Something.