I was looking yesterday, amongst other things, at the work of Suzuki Yumiko, a manga artist. I coudln’t find a scan of the actual manga and it seems anyways that none of her stuff was ever translated. Funnily though, I found out she did a project in collaboration with SHOWSTUDIO, Nick Knight’s experimental studio in London. It’s a pretty funny performance with her redrawing the current fashion looks (it was filmed in 2007!!) on photos of a model, but japanese style “purikura”. Check it out here.
You don’t know what purikura are? They’re basically machines that take your photo and allow you to redraw, write, add accessories over it. They range from the most basic, to the most elaborate with filters, graphic styles etc… CHeck these :
ALso, I recently saw HELter Skelter, the film version of the comic, because a friend of my boyfriend plays in it. THe manga is by Kyoko Okazaki, and it’s pretty interesting. I never felt drawn to it when I saw it in bookshops, because I’m not fond of the artwork. I would always tell myself how its a bit rough, a bit unclean but at the same time pretty “girly” in a cliché way.
Well actually I was wrong, but I only realized a few years after, because my sister bought it and I was out of things to read. Tha author, Kyoko Okazaki is actually someone who pioneered her style, her own storytelling and has been for about 25 years. Hahaha. I felt pretty dumb after I looked into it.
Anyways the story is about this model, “LIlico” whose apparence is the result of extreme surgery. As expected, she’s highly unstable and the treatment to maintain her appareance doesn’t help. Her surroundings don’t help out, and the manga is pretty much about how thei “Lilico” copes with her high stress celebrity status, with sex, medicine, manipulation.
So what’s different about this story? The characters feel human, they have their shortcomings, but their are endearing and interesting. Also, the manga is very fast-paced, the story extremely rich, and rather than focusing on morals, it deals with the actions of the individual and the extremes they can be driven to. The “spontaenous” drawing style of the author helps it not to fall in any cliché, and make it more credible. I don’t think she is the most technical of mangakas, but there’s a definite strong symbiosis between form & content. It’s a style I called in my mind “life stories”, the same category I’d put in, for example, Ebine Yamaji.
Yeah I’d really recommend it.
I’m sure you can read it online, but it’s much nicer as a book.
OH I almost forgot the film; it wasn’t so great, it was exactly the way to make this story very clichéed and boring. And I fond the actress not so much like the main character in the book, I thought she would be more like the supermodels if the 90s.
Working on more prints today.
Vectors are so great, but as soon as you want to go in detail for something more repetitive it’s pretty time consuming.
And it can look pretty contrived. However I’ve found some pretty fun things to do. One of my inspirations below, it’s the “I want more” video clip from Faithless, which most people know. The images are from a bbc documentary called “a state of mind”. I highly recommend it. It’s one of these movies you get mixed feelings about, because in one way you can’t help admire the passion and dedication but you know these kids are broken down by a system that oppresses them, and you also foresee massive physical problems they’re going to have. But I didn’t find it depressing, if anything, quite uplifting, human beings are pretty resilient.
I received by the post a beautoful package with japanese sweets. It seems it is very traditional in Japan to offer gifts for every occasion, minor or major. Thus, I received from my friend in Japan some amazing sweets. Theyre great and bases on red beans, my favourite. When i went to Japan a while ago, I spent a fortune, the equivalent of twice my monthly wage. Why? This pictures shows it(poorly!). The packaging and service is great. Beautiful boxes.
I found Japan is one of these places where it is customary to use illustrations in pamphlets magazines, sometimes even over photographies. That’s pretty rare I reckon these days, and this attention to detail makes these products irresistible.
working on more prints, I got a good groove looking at north korean’s mass games and photographies of industrial structures… that were originally used for surveys. I reckon the difficulty in prints is that you have to get scale, colour, technique and subject right.
Also, I find digital printing tends to be limited to this horrid mirrored photoshop print(anybody who’s watched project runway will know what I mean) or photo-manipulation etc… Well it’s actually a lot more work to try and draw it yourself, even if you trace it. Anyway, I’m pretty happy about the first one!
That’s it for today!
going through my hard drive I stumbled upon these prints from a while ago!
I’m a bit nostalgic of the decadence of developping all these prints….
Anyways I’m developping new ones so hopefully sometime soo you’ll see an update about that.
I picked this up at Boulinier second hands bookstore not far from where I work! Such an informative and entertaining book. A definite surprise, for a 2 euros book from the batgain bin.
so today I was trying out some print ideas, it was quite unsatisfying!
I love working with the illustrator gradients, but to be honest, I think I need a major breakthrough for this to go next level and not look like a repeat of the Hyères project. And maybe I need some improvement in my own personal illustration skills…
Inspiration is… can you guess? Hiroshige.
I saw the beautiful lush woodcuts at La Pinacothèque, and it was worth queuing and stepping on some old people to see it (there’s many, many of them in every major exhibition in Paris), and they’re SO slow. It got a bit annoying after a while.
Anyhow heres one trial of print (almost a screenshot) and a Hiroshige print, for comparison. The colours are amazing(not talking about my print, obv). If you look it up you find out that first they paint with watercolours then they give the watercolour to a technician who would redraw the outline, and another one to do all the colouring.
Amazing! And those woodcuts were used a few thousands for the most popular series. That kind of challenges the view of “unique cratsmanship” that is constantly brought forward by big brands to justify crazy prices….
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.