CUTE MONSTERS (可愛い化け物 FROM JAPAN)
CUTE MONSTERS! Crazy cats, surreal lizards, mischievous monkeys and weird humanoids dance around in this kawaii celebration of insanity! Decorated in strange spirals, line work and psychedelic designs the bubbly monsters give off a contradictory yet coexistent feeling of happiness and despair ultimately ending in an uplifting and festive expression.
This series of sketch book drawings were heavily influenced by my first trip to Tokyo Japan in the fall of 2015. In is interesting to note that prior to my visit I was working in a very rigid and mechanical style based on the Robotic themes of my work for the Dbrand mural. After a few days exploring Tokyo I settled into my regular routine of drinking coffee and doodling in the mornings and my style had intuitively changed as a result of my new surroundings.
Some of the things I experienced in Tokyo that inspired these new artworks included the wide spread use of cute characters in everyday culture, the traditional patterned designs and excitement of the Torinoichi festival and the two major Japanese art exhibitions I attended during my stay.
The use of cartoon or anime characters was so prevalent in the city that one couldn't help but be affected by the cuteness. Illustrations were not restricted to kids products, like candy and toys, but appeared everywhere from the police station to strip clubs and even on construction scaffolding. This wide range of cute images is undeniably reflected in these creature drawings as I mix some serious emotions together with silly cats and other animals.
In addition to the modern use of illustrated characters, I was also inspired by the time I spent in Asakusa. Asakusa has a more historical vibe than many of the other areas including temples, traditional market places, rickshaw runners and the Torinoichi Festival. The festival was very old fashioned with food carts, lanterns, kimonos and temple celebrations. It was here that I started getting really interested in the repetitive patterns used to decorate almost everything in sight. These patterns manifest themselves as all sorts of haphazard designs replacing the skin & fur of the creatures in these drawings.
Lastly I attended to very interesting art shows in Tokyo. One was a Shunga exhibition which featured erotic artworks from the 1800-1900's. While the drawings were shocking and explicit there was also a humorous side to them. There were many aspects of the work that echoed the cute characters of modern Tokyo as well as a heavy focus on the intricate and repetitive designs of the traditional clothing. The second event I attended was the Takashi Murakami 500 Arhats show in Roppongi Hills. Again these same themes repeated themselves involving a modern take on the traditional cartooning, tapestry designs and festive expressions that make Tokyo such a unique and inspiring aesthetic experience.