Category — Art
Have you ever wanted to walk around New York with a beard made from azuki beans? Well this is your lucky day! Takao Sakai, the artist responsible for the Azurer Project, is bringing his bean beards to New York in conjunction with the New City Art Fair happening in early March. Participants (RSVP required) will be given the opportunity to go on a guided tour of New York with your very own bean beard.
This year, Spoon & Tamago is a media partner with New City Art Fair, which is pretty awesome!
Call it performance art. Call it a mockumentary. In 2007, Sakai began his project in an attempt to poke fun at fads that spread like wildfire, only to quickly vanish from public memory. Stemming from his love for sweet azuki beans (hence the name, Azurer), Sakai began creating the beards and photographing strangers wearing them. Sure enough, the trend caught on. According to Sakai, the Azurer population is over 1.7 million. And that’s only in Japan. I’m sure Sakai’s creations will quickly catch on, especially here in beard-mecca Brooklyn.
February 24, 2014 3 Comments
“In the end, selfies are avatars: Mini-Me’s that we send out to give others a sense of who we are,” concluded the actor James Franco, in a piece he penned for the NYT, finishing off a year in which Oxford named “selfie” word of the year. “The selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, ‘Hello, this is me’.”
But artist Noriko Yabu takes the photographic art form to new levels. Or should I say, new depths. Positioning a camera above her immersed self, the 33-year old artist snaps shots of her eyes, hair and other body parts as she moves around underwater. Air bubbles released from within add all the more drama to the dream-like series titled Suisou (水 葬). The clever title can be read as “aquarium.” But in a slightly morbid twist, the MFA graduate chose to substitute the typical character (槽) with another one (葬)), reserved for funerals or burials.
However, there is nothing about the series that would suggest an end or death. Rather, the enchanting portraits would suggest rebirth. After all, water is where it all started out. Perhaps this is Yabu’s way of announcing a new self to the world. It’s worth noting that the sub-title for the series is “another myself.”
February 22, 2014 1 Comment
The artist Rie Hosokai (previously), who goes by the more professionally appropriate moniker Daisy Balloon, creates wild and intricate dresses out of small balloons. Fashion is her forte but she also designs sculptural work as well, like the giant teddy bear (made from smaller teddy bear balloons) for the recent Nipponista pop-up shop in NY.
In fact, Hosokai is releasing her second photobook this month, which contains a collection of 16 recent works of both commercial and more experimental nature. You can pick up your own copy right here.
February 18, 2014 No Comments
Art Student Tomomi Tokuyasu approaches beef the same way she approaches her art material – with a keen eye for patterns and design. “The red meat and fat are spread out differently, depending on where you cut,” says* Tokuyasu, referring to regular slices of beef she encounters at the supermarket. “If the complex expressions that reveal themselves can be perceived as shapes, rather than meat, we can begin to recognize them as prints and patterns.”
Selecting 5 different cuts of beef, Tokuyasu has transformed the resulting pattern into original textile designs. She presented her project “Cuts of Beef” last month as her graduating senior thesis project from Musashino Art University.
*All quotes translated from Japanese to English by the author
(this post is part of our review of student artwork from 2014 senior thesis exhibitions. You can see all our coverage of student artwork here)
February 14, 2014 2 Comments
Rarely do I write two posts in a row about the same person, but as I was digging through the work of Tokyo-based illustrator Hama-House for my previous post I discovered the artist’s Instagram account.
As I quickly learned, Hama-House, when not doing commercial work for TV ads and magazines, enjoys doing speed sketches of people in Tokyo like commuters, musicians and café dwellers. Hama-House quickly sketches a contour, fills in a few details and then adds a final touch – an Instagram photo of the subject in the background of the drawing.
February 12, 2014 5 Comments
Feeling a bit nerdy this Valentine’s day? Or perhaps you’re dating a gamer? Brooklyn-based artist Shinji Murakami has created the perfect valentines gift for you. His 8bit heart is an ode to the pixelated past, before the age of hi-res vector graphics.
A three-dimensional art piece deconstructed into nostalgic 8-bit cubes, 8bit heart is part of Shinji’s 3D-8BIT series – an expedition to unearth the pixelated bumpiness of three-dimensional forms. The process is one of distillation and discovery: removing information to bring into focus the most important elements.
Of course if you’re looking for something “a bit” more affordable, check out this DIY origami heart. You can read more about Shinji in our studio visit and be sure to check out his upcoming solo exhibition!
February 10, 2014 No Comments
If you haven’t heard, New York – and pretty much all of the U.S. – is having a pretty tough winter. Perhaps hearing our screams of anguish as we step through slush, or perhaps in response to his own frigid temperatures being based in Sapporo, the artist and illustrator Baku Maeda (previously) has created a pair of seasonally appropriate eye wear.
I think this should be part of this winter’s official uniform.
February 6, 2014 1 Comment
Ikebana – the age-old art of Japanese flower arrangement. From flower arrangements on cars to balloons, contemporary artists have sought to create modern day versions of the tradition. But in its latest iteration, Ikebana is transformed into organic and mysterious forms of liquid by artist Naoko Tosa. In a series titled “Sound of Ikebana,” Tosa first mixes pastel colors and oil together to create a variety of colors intended to express the 4 seasons of Japan. Sound vibrations are then applied to make droplets of liquid jump into the air, which are then captured by a 2000 fps high-speed camera.
February 3, 2014 2 Comments
Kittens dressed as people. Dogs with mushrooms growing out of their backs. This is just some of the bizarre imagery you’ll come across as you fall down Yuko Higuchi’s rabbit hole. The Tokyo-based illustrator has recently gained quite a following thanks to collaborations with brands like UNIQLO and Shiseido. With just her pet cat Boris as her main source of inspiration, coupled with a healthy curiosity towards the shapes and forms of fungi, Higuchi portrays realistic animals in unrealistic situations.
This month from February 20 – March 1 Higuchi will be staging a pop-up shop in Laforet Harajuku department store where you’ll be able to purchase merchandise, like this great oil paint set.
February 3, 2014 Comments Off
The streets of New York are littered with discarded gum. And never is this detritus of society more invigorating than when stepped in. But if viewed through a different lens – specifically, that of Brooklyn-based artist Hiromi Niizeki’s cell phone camera – those repulsive wads of rubber become works of art. “This project developed over the past several years as I discovered the many inadvertent patterns along every street and sidewalk marked with speckled formations of discarded gum,” says Niizeki, describing the impetus for her project. “However, it is the naturally occurring HEART shapes, which have formed by mere coincidence, that fascinate me most and have become the focal point for this project.”
Niizeki has recently launched a kickstarter funding campaign, seeking a little more than $2K to create an installation of heart-shaped chewed gum at the non-profit Maple Grove Cemetery in Queens. If successfully funded, the installation will run during March 11, the 3rd anniversary of the massive earthquake and tsunami.
Niizeki has previously turned her collection of heart-shaped chewed gum into, amongst other things, window decals and shopping bags.
January 28, 2014 1 Comment