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Gravity and Grace: Hayato Wakabayashi’s Photographs of Frozen Waterfalls

hayato wakabayashi grace and gravity

Japanese photographer Hayato Wakabayashi braves the treacherous colds of mountainous Japan to take pictures of frozen waterfalls and caves. The otherworldly photographs stem from a fascination “with the imperceptible growth built from repeated elements in nature.” But Wakabayashi’s ultimate inspiration comes from a place deeper than caves: Simone Weil, the 20th century French philosopher who became posthumously famous for her writings on mysticism.

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Transition: a flowering paper structure designed for sky-gazing


For her graduating thesis project, art student Shoko Konishi created this beautiful paper structure. She calls it Transition. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, just some paper cylinders in a circle with a small entrance to climb into. But inside is a blossoming dome on the ceiling that creates a transformational experience.


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The Studio Visits: an extended virtual gallery

spoon & tamago: studio visits exhibition

all photos by kaori sohma for spoon & tamago | click to enlarge

Earlier this month the Spoon & Tamago team celebrated the opening of The Studio Visits, a real-life exhibition that saw our Studio Visits web series come to life. Despite a blizzarding evening, hundreds of visitors braved the cold and snow to come see the show, which was held in conjunction with New City Art Fair. The 4-day show was a blast. Perhaps the best part was meeting many of you and talking to you about the artwork!

But we know there were many who couldn’t come. So we decided to extend the show as an online virtual gallery. Here you’ll be able to see all the artwork and it will also be available in our shop through April 10, 2015!

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Remembering Tohoku: Gigantic Watercolor Canvases by Hiroshige Kagawa

hiroshige kagawa watercolors

“Fukushima” (2014) by Hiroshige Kagawa | click images to enlarge

“I wanted to draw something gigantic,” says artist Hiroshige Kagawa, recalling the utterly simple reason he began working in such large-scale. His first large watercolor painting in 2003 was about 10 ft x 23 ft, but in the 12 years since he’s been working – at a pace of about 1 painting per year – his works have grown by about 5-fold.

Kagawa’s older works tended towards the celestial and fantastical: solar systems and imaginary planets or forests. You can see them on his website. But in 2011, when the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Tohoku, Kagawa’s response was drastic and immediate. His latest work, unveiled in August of 2014 is “Fukushima,” a massive watercolor painting that clocks in at about 17 ft x 54 ft. It depicts TEPCO’s Daiichi Nuclear Reactor.

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The Science of Cuteness: How To Make Hello Kitty Appeal to Different Audiences

hello kitty nendo
Ever since Hello Kitty took her first faltering steps in 1974, she has been the reigning cute superpower. And it’s no coincidence either. Hello Kitty and her large head, small nose, ribbon and look of helplessness has been engineered to trigger certain maternal impulses in our brain that makes us want to cuddle with it; even look after it.

“HELLO KITTY is a character that has many elements that ‘stimulates the right brain’ to naturally induce the feeling of ‘cuteness’ ” says Nendo, who was tasked with rethinking the adorable feline as a series of t-shirts to appeal to male audiences as well.

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Oei Katsushika: an artist lost in her father’s shadow

katsushika oei

“Night Scene in the Yoshiwara” by Katsushika Oei. The interplay of light and shadow is a distinct style rare in woodblock prints

If you’re familiar with the name Katsushika Hokusai, you probably also know that he was one of the most celebrated artists of the Edo Period in Japan. He created woodblock prints of Mount Fuji that, to this day, remain iconic imagery of Japan. Hokusai’s name lives on through both commercial and artistic appropriation. But there’s one part of this narrative that’s often omitted from history: Hokusai had a daughter, Oei Katsushika, who was an accomplished artist in her own right.

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House For All: A Wooden Indoor Playground For Kids in Soma City

house for all soma by klein dytham

House-for-All in Soma: tree-shaped pillars lift the timber lattice canopy to make the space light and airy.

Four years ago a devastating earthquake and tsunami destroyed 250,000 homes in the Tohoku region of Japan. In the wake of the tragedy, architect Toyo Ito established Home-for-All, an initiative to build small community centers in the heart of the acres of temporary housing. Funded by donations from around the world, for the last 4 years architects have worked pro bono to build a total of 12 Home-for-All buildings, instilling a sense of pride in the hard-hit areas of Tohoku.

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Constellation: Starry Night Skies in Paper Shopping Bags by Yuken Teruya

yuken teruya paper shopping bags

all photos by spoon & tamago | taken with an iphone 5

Using paper shopping bags from upscale boutiques like Gucci and Barneys, Yuken Teruya creates views of starry night skies by cutting small holes into the bags. The ingeniously simple sculptures rely only on the light of the room to create an enchanting glow that illuminates the holes of varying sizes. And each bag – there were at least 10 – represents a view of the night sky as seen from a different part of the world.

“Uncovering small metamorphosis in familiar objects is an exercise which enables one to turn routine into moments of significance, making us more aware of the indefinite alterations in our surroundings,” said the artist.

yuken teruya paper shopping bags

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New Sarutahiko Coffee Shop Opens in Tokyo

sarutahiko coffee sengawa

The rumblings of Tokyo’s 3rd wave coffee movement have been erupting this year. Blue Bottle Coffee opened not 1 but 2 shops in Tokyo back-to-back; first in February and then again over the weekend. But the Silicon Valley-funded roaster isn’t the only one mounting a swift advance on Tokyo’s coffee connoisseurs. The home-grown Sarutahiko Coffee, which operates a popular caffeinating destination in Ebisu has now opened their 2nd location in Chofu, a western suburb of Tokyo.

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Studio Visit With Ai Campbell


all photos by kaori sohma for spoon & tamago

Animal skulls, organisms and landscapes

It was a cold, cloudy Saturday, just like most Saturdays have been in February but Gowanus, Brooklyn seemed extra black and white that day. We dodged puddles of ice as we made our way to Ai Campbell’s studio, where she creates her intricate paintings that are inspired by animal bones, organisms and landscapes.

Dark, Rorschach test-like splotches lined the wall as we entered her studio, accessed by a stairway to the 2nd floor. Ai had been testing patterns by dripping ink and letting it organically take shape. She often combines these naturally-formed ink splotches with more carefully controlled lines and patterns.  Next to the ink marks was a shelf with an animal skull, which we would later learn once belonged to a coyote.

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