“Watching people around me, both in the US and here in Japan, so many seem to have something they idolize.” That’s illustrator Andrew Browne, who divides his time between Minneapolis and Tokyo creating ballpoint pen drawings that are influenced by film, pop culture, ukiyo-e and the gritty streets of Tokyo.
Browne’s latest series titled Idols “juxtaposes Japanese Buddha statues with mindsets and fixations of contemporary life.” But Browne’s work is equally about idolizing as it is about our desire to be idolized. The Buddha with the stickers could be interpreted as a generation of people enforcing their own ideals onto preexisting faiths, or simply the Buddha putting the stickers on himself. The schoolgirl Buddha too: many in Japan idolize schoolgirls but it’s hardly a one-way street with many young people accepting, and even encouraging, the artificiality that’s projected onto them.
The Idols project originally began when Browne visited a museum and saw several Buddha statues. One in particular – with chips and cracks – caught his eye. But as he began to draw, different ideas began to flood his head and the project took on a life of its own.