This is “Meltdown,” 40-year old artist Manabu Ikeda’s latest creation. It’s about 4ft x 4ft and took only 5 months to create. That’s right: ONLY. That’s because Ikeda was working quickly. Typically, he spends years on a single creation, which is so dense in detail that a single 8-hour work day yields just a 4-inch square.
“Meltdown,” as the title would suggest, is based on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the artist’s concerns of radioactive elements being released into the atmosphere. “My work expresses the dangers humans have when they live so closely with industrialization,” says Ikeda, who’s been creating post-apocalyptic artwork for some time now. But also embedded within the staggering details of his compressed megalopolis are bits and pieces of day-to-day life from Vancouver, where he and his family have been living for the past 2 years on a cultural-affairs grant. “Meltdown” was on display at The West Vancouver Museum earlier this year.
Where is Ikeda headed from here? He and his family are off to Madison, Wisconsin where he’ll begin work on a massive disaster and recovery-themed piece that won’t be ready till 2016. We’ll check back in 3 years.