Spanish street artist Pejac transforms Tokyo walls and public sidewalks into political art

Written by: William on July 3, 2015 at 11:08 am | In CULTURE | 2 Comments

Spanish street artist Pejac has just finished an Asian tour, taking in Hong Kong and Seoul. His last stop was Tokyo, where he wrecked some creative anarchy on the streets.

He exploited local artistic tropes as well as socio-political themes to bring some sharp messages to local pedestrians on the sidewalks and streets of Japan.

In Chiba City, the Barcelona-based artist created Gulliver near an unassuming railway crossing using bonsai and the motif of a boy gardener.

pejac street art tokyo japan

pejac street art tokyo japan

pejac street art tokyo japan

pejac street art tokyo japan

pejac street art tokyo japan

Pejac says: “Using an icon of Japanese culture that I have always felt interest in, as the bonsai, I have wanted to make a surrealistic work that plays with scale of different elements.”

Shark-fin soup was created in Shibuya.

pejac street art tokyo japan

pejac street art tokyo japan

“This is a work that make use of the classic anime aesthetics to camouflage criticism of reality much less kind: the genocide of a species (sharks) for which Japanese consumers are not solely but mainly responsibly for. A sea beast that emerges in the city revealing a human bite on its fin.”

pejac street art tokyo japan

pejac street art tokyo japan

pejac street art tokyo japan

The more overtly Japanese Seppuku also appeared in Shibuya, though this time in a side alley.

pejac street art tokyo japan

“I originally conceived this as an ‘indoor’ painting some time ago. I couldn’t help but make this sort of tribute as a manner of saying thank-you to Japanese culture for the inspiration that drove me to create it in the first place.”

pejac street art tokyo japan

For Everyone is an Artist Pejac went to Kawasaki, just west of Tokyo.

“Making use of the Joseph Beuys affirmation, I made this tribute to all working women of the world.”

pejac street art tokyo japan

A charwoman silhouette seems to stand in for every suffering housewife in Japan as she pours away her dirty water — which is transformed into Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa, probably the most famous ukiyoe print of all time.

pejac street art tokyo japan

pejac street art tokyo japan

pejac street art tokyo japan

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Head-kun: a robotic vacuum cleaner that creates drip painting art

Written by: William on June 26, 2015 at 11:03 am | In NEW TECH | 3 Comments

Tails of Head is a project by HYdeJII where a specially adapted robotic vacuum cleaner creates paintings using multiple colors.

Head-kun (aka Mr Head) is the artist. According to his (?) profile, Head-kun is 15 years old and a robotic painter converted from an unnamed robotic vacuum cleaner product by iRobot.

tails of head head-kun japanese vacuum cleaner robotic roomba drip painting art

The process is very time-consuming but involves Head-kun traveling over the same space countless times, dripping different acrylic paints onto a canvas measuring 1,000mm x 1,000mm.

This is Spring Starburst (2015).

tails of head head-kun japanese vacuum cleaner robotic roomba drip painting art

tails of head head-kun japanese vacuum cleaner robotic roomba drip painting art

This is Spring Worm Hole (2014).

tails of head head-kun japanese vacuum cleaner robotic roomba drip painting art

tails of head head-kun japanese vacuum cleaner robotic roomba drip painting art

While paintings created by robots is not a new gimmick by any means, we haven’t seen one done by a vacuum cleaner bot like this before. Sure there was a nice light painting by Roomba cleaners and a iRobot Scooba 450 did some impressive seascapes, but Head-kun is surely the Jackson Pollock of this genre.

Here is how Head-kun created his drip paintings.

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Shaun in Japan: Shaun the Sheep takes over Tokyo in Evangelion, Hello Kitty designs

Written by: William on June 12, 2015 at 10:08 am | In GO SEE | No Comments

Go hunting for Shaun the Sheep in Omotesando this June in a special art and charity event called “Shaun in Japan”.

The Shaun-hunting event has already been a success in the Aardman Animations character’s native UK in the form of two “ewe-nique charity arts trails” in Bristol and London. 50 specially created Shaun sculptures were exhibited in the British capital and 70 in Bristol, a city in the far west of England. Kids were encouraged to go searching for all the sculptures in the “flock” as part of days out in the cities. The celebrity-designed sculptures were then sold off for charity at the end of the respective events.

shaun in japan tokyo sheep sculpture omotesando tokyu plaza harajuku hideki anno evangelion hello kitty

The “Shaun in the City” trail now arrives in the Japanese capital. (Wallace & Gromit is popular in Japan, even if some of the British jokes may go over viewers’ heads!) While the trail is not as big as the original UK versions, the designs of the sculptures have been considerably localized.

“Shaun in Japan” takes place from June 12th to June 25th, and features seven Shaun the Sheep sculptures at the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku designed by Japanese artists like acclaimed anime director Hideaki Anno.

shaun in japan tokyo sheep sculpture omotesando tokyu plaza harajuku hideki anno evangelion hello kitty

No surprises but Hideki Anno’s contribute is an Evangelion Shaun!

The Shaun sculptures measure 130cm in height. Only four designs have been unveiled so far, but they include a Hello Kitty Shaun and Sugar Sugar Rune Shaun!

shaun in japan tokyo sheep sculpture omotesando tokyu plaza harajuku hideki anno evangelion hello kitty

Aside from Anno, other designers and artists involved include manga-ka Moyoco Anno (who wrote the comic Sugar Sugar Rune), calligrapher Tomomi Kunishige, character designer Yuko Yamaguchi, manga-ka Ikuto Yamashita, and sweets artist Osamu Watanabe.

The British Council and Sanrio are also participating.

The fifth-floor Hands Cafe at the Tokyu Plaza will also offer special Shaun the Sheep menu items.

shaun in japan tokyo sheep sculpture omotesando tokyu plaza harajuku hideki anno evangelion hello kitty

“Shaun in Japan” is also being touted as a charity event, though the details are yet to be announced.

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Makoto Asano’s amazing Instagram Häagen-Dazs ice cream faces art

Written by: William on June 2, 2015 at 12:40 pm | In CULTURE | 3 Comments

We want to showcase the incredible “ice cream face” art of Makoto Asano.

He posts the faces, carved out of mini Häagen-Dazs ice cream pots, on his Instagram account. He’s been working on the project sporadically since at least 2012 (with a brief dabble in non-Häagen-Dazs ice cream and even bananas!)but has only now just started to attract attention.

asano makoto asanomakoto instagram Häagen haagen dazs ice cream face art series

Since Häagen-Dazs produce so many different flavors and seasonal specials, there is a wealth of colors and textures to choose from. And Asano responds with an inventive range of faces, expressions and styles.

But we wonder: does he eat them afterwards? And if so, does the “sculpting” affect the taste?

A photo posted by @asanomakoto on

A photo posted by @asanomakoto on

A photo posted by @asanomakoto on

A photo posted by @asanomakoto on

A photo posted by @asanomakoto on

A photo posted by @asanomakoto on

A photo posted by @asanomakoto on

A photo posted by @asanomakoto on

Will this become as big as Japanese latte art or kakigori shaved ice art? Only time will tell.

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“Schoolgirl Animals” exhibition in Kyoto features stunning anthropomorphic female student portraits

Written by: William on May 27, 2015 at 11:22 am | In CULTURE, GO SEE | 3 Comments

“Schoolgirl Animals” is an exhibition currently running at BAMI Gallery in Kyoto until May 31st, featuring an array of beguiling images of female school students in their uniforms and other schoolgirl paraphernalia, but with incongruous animal heads.

The solo exhibition showcases the work of Takumi Kama. His stunning portraits include schoolgirls combined with a zebra, cheetah, monkeys, giraffe, deer, and more.

takumi kama schoolgirl animals exhibition kyoto uniform school japanese anthropomorphic art

takumi kama schoolgirl animals exhibition kyoto uniform school japanese anthropomorphic art

takumi kama schoolgirl animals exhibition kyoto uniform school japanese anthropomorphic art

takumi kama schoolgirl animals exhibition kyoto uniform school japanese anthropomorphic art

takumi kama schoolgirl animals exhibition kyoto uniform school japanese anthropomorphic art

takumi kama schoolgirl animals exhibition kyoto uniform school japanese anthropomorphic art

takumi kama schoolgirl animals exhibition kyoto uniform school japanese anthropomorphic art

takumi kama schoolgirl animals exhibition kyoto uniform school japanese anthropomorphic art

takumi kama schoolgirl animals exhibition kyoto uniform school japanese anthropomorphic art

Schoolgirls are a continual obsession for artists and designers in Japan, especially their uniform as a motif.

Photographers like Yuki Aoyama have made whole careers out of series of schoolgirl images and the results aren’t necessarily sleazy (though that taint does also, unmistakably, linger).

The recent Design Festa featured an “interchangeable schoolgirl uniform” by Maori Iguchi.

tsukekae seifuku maori iguchi-interchangeable school uniform japan design festa

“Schoolgirl Animals” also taps into the culture in Japan for moe anthropomorphism, specifically kemonomimi. This is most famously expressed in the form of catgirl characters, where anime or illustrated figures have cat tails and cat ears (nekomimi) — something even clothes for pet-owners like to indulge in!

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Highlights from Roppongi Art Night 2015

Written by: William on April 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm | In CULTURE, GO SEE | No Comments

Last weekend Roppongi Art Night 2015 took over the Roppongi area for a night of art and

The events, performances and installations stretched out from sundown on April 25 to sunrise on 26th.

roppongi art night 2015

This year’s theme was “shining, connecting, joining in”.

Here are a few highlights.

roppongi art night 2015

A wall of “light boxes” made at workshops at Suntory Museum of Art.

roppongi art night 2015

The “Lungplant” by Tim van Cromvoirt was a street installation that “depicts a landscape with living, luminous organisms and explores the influence this landscape has on its spectators.”

roppongi art night 2015

The “Comic Foreground Gods Clock” transformed a regular clock tower landmark into a succession of spring deities.

roppongi art night 2015

The Dance Truck featured performances by Tsuyoshi Shirai, MOKK, Yukio Suzuki, JON THE DOG, Kumotaro Mukai, Mirai.Co, AEROBIX, Ippei Shintaku, Yo Nakamura x TOYOFUKU Akifumi, and Wataru Kitao.

roppongi art night 2015

“Emaki/Wave” by Takashi Ishida gave the usual industrial look of a car park a more interesting edge.

roppongi art night 2015

“TME – Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway” by Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani was a projection of footage from the Tarkovsky sci-fi classic Solaris (1972) that features a car trip on the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway, plus a parallel second screen with a contemporary “remake” of the ride.

Images via official RAN Twitter

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Media Ambition Tokyo 2015 transforms city into media art showcase

Written by: William on February 6, 2015 at 9:41 am | In CULTURE, GO SEE | No Comments

Media Ambition Tokyo returns for another year, transforming Tokyo into a media art bonanza.

In the grandiose words of the organizers, Media Ambition Tokyo “takes an experimental approach to urban implementation.”

media ambition tokyo 2015 rhizomatiks installation sound video the fifth sleep ice skating drawing architecture lexus intersect

This is the third time Media Ambition Tokyo has been held, showcasing cutting-edge technology and art crossovers. The previous two festivals had a combined audience of 120,000 people.

The eight venues across Roppongi, Aoyama, Odaiba, Iidabashi and Shibuya include Midtown and Intersect by Lexus.

Ever worker-bee media art unit Rhizomatiks have partnered up with Lexus to create a video and sound installation inspired by the LFA supercar.

The title for the “1,220” installation might sound cryptic at first but it’s a reference to the height of the car. Visitors will lie down in a space with the same height and experience a series of landscapes passing right above them on a huge LED screen.

When we watch a screen, we first detect what we see as nothing more than light before it gradually takes form inside our brains. Light captured by our retinas travels to the visual cortex at the back of our brains, and this is where light is first recognized as an image. We are not normally aware of this process, but our emotional reactions to the images we see are triggered by the conversion that takes place in that short span. “1,200” is an attempt to have visitors experience that journey of light attaining meaning across a distance that represents the height of the Lexus LFA.

The winter is nearly over but if you feel like ice-skating artistically, you should check out “Skate Drawing” at Midtown, an interactive art piece where the paths traced by skaters on the ice are displayed on a video screen. Once again it is by Rhizomatiks.

media ambition tokyo 2015 rhizomatiks installation sound video the fifth sleep ice skating drawing architecture

In Shibuya, Tokyo Anarchitecture sounds like the kind of thing to get Tumblr bloggers excited:

Tokyo Anarchitecture is a photography series which evolves around space representations and experience of the reality. Breaking up then reconstructing pictures of huge urban plants shot in various spots in the world, Olivier Ratsi plays with the perception of our daily urban environment in aim to question its references.

media ambition tokyo 2015 Olivier Ratsi installation sound video the fifth sleep ice skating drawing architecture

The award for most-scary-sounding installation likely goes to “The Fifth Sleep”:

At the crossroads between video game and cinema, The Fifth Sleep is an immersive installation offering a unique experience : Giving a spectator the chance literally to travel into the interior of the most mysterious of organs, the brain. Using an HMD (head-mounted display), the spectator navigates in a 3D environment generated in real-time, and can interact in a story in which he gradually becomes the main character. The spectator thus participates in a team of scientists’ experimental project aiming to test the Proteus, a nanorobot camera that can be injected inside the human body… An unusual journey through landscapes never before observed, in the heart of a labyrinth where each of your choices will determine the patient’s fate.

Other participants include sculptor Kohei Nawa and teamLab.

media ambition tokyo 2015 rhizomatiks installation sound video the fifth sleep ice skating drawing architecture

The period varies per exhibition and installation event, but most start on February 11th and run until later in the month, though some events continue into March.

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Tatsuo Horiuchi’s Excel Art New Year Card 2015 for the Year of the Sheep

Written by: William on January 7, 2015 at 8:47 am | In CULTURE | 1 Comment

The 74-year-old artist Tatsuo Horiuchi continues to prove that age and technology can mix very well, as can tradition and computer software.

Horiuchi might well be almost halfway through his eighth decade on this planet but he continues to wow people with his artworks created entirely using Microsoft Excel. Typically these are traditional Japanese landscapes, of the kinds you might find on a folding screen panel.

His beautiful Nengajo (New Year card) for 2015 put any postcards you might have purchased from a convenience store to shame.

Naturally he chose a lamb and sheep as the main motifs (2015 is the year of the sheep).

tatsuo horiuchi japanese nengajo new year card 2015 excel art

tatsuo horiuchi japanese nengajo new year card 2015 excel art

Forget spreadsheets, use autoshapes to connect and color custom shapes with Excel and the results can be this magnificent.

tatsuo horiuchi japanese autoshapes microsoft excel art spreadsheet software

Horiuchi has been tinkering away at Excel art since his retirement and has even attracted international attention for his work.

tatsuo horiuchi japanese autoshapes microsoft excel art spreadsheet software

tatsuo horiuchi japanese autoshapes microsoft excel art spreadsheet software

tatsuo horiuchi japanese autoshapes microsoft excel art spreadsheet software

tatsuo horiuchi japanese autoshapes microsoft excel art spreadsheet software

tatsuo horiuchi japanese autoshapes microsoft excel art spreadsheet software

See more over on Tatsuo Horiuchi’s website.

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Citizen “Light is Time” at Spiral transforms watch parts into glittering art installation

Written by: William on December 1, 2014 at 8:01 am | In COOL PRODUCTS, CULTURE | No Comments

No, those are not stars in a planetarium. They are watch parts.

Spiral’s trademark atrium space was transformed by Citizen into “Light is Time”, a special installation that saw countless watch parts suspended by wires and shimmering in the shifting light.

citizen light is time spiral garden installation watch parts installation milan

citizen light is time spiral garden installation watch parts installation milan

The Aoyama space was packed with Tokyoites understandably desperate to see the mechanical parts become art. There were 80,000 main gold plates, the basic component of a watch, glittering in the atrium (and making it hard for those smartphones to focus).

citizen light is time spiral garden installation watch parts installation milan

citizen light is time spiral garden installation watch parts installation milan

The epicenter of the installation was an old silver 1920’s pocket watch, the origin of Citizen’s monozuri.

The installation also featured a central projection on the floor of the inner workings of a timepiece, plus videos showing close-ups of the intricate work Citizen does to create its watches.

citizen light is time spiral garden installation watch parts installation milan

Created by architect Tsuyoshi Tane (DGT) and technical director Yutaka Endo (Luftzug), “Light is Time” ran at Spiral Garden from November 14th to November 28th, after having first wowed crowds at the Milan Design Weeek 2014.

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