Painting on the walls

The other day, mokumoku studio was commissioned to paint on the walls of an IT company’s office in Tokyo. 

The request was to make a sumi-ink type of painting with some illustrated images of things the company is developing. 

We are of course used to painting on paper and even ipad but didn’t have many chances to paint on the walls. When you think of sumi-ink painting, you often see the smudge effects and the blurring touch with lots of water used but it is difficult to reproduce that on slippery walls…. so we used sponges and brushes to convey the sumi-ink touch. We were so concentrated that didn’t realize it was so late and we were hungry. 

The office itself is quite unique. It’s got shoji windows and chandeliers.. we believe our painting added a nice spice to it!! Most importantly, the client was very happy with the work we did so we are happy about it!!  

We are hoping to have another opportunity like this and also realized how fun it is to make a large scale painting…

Edo, Tokyo and Chicago

About a month ago, a beautiful chain reaction happened to us. 

We loved it so much and are still very excited about it. 

I wrote about our visit to the exhibition “Ukiyo-e 2020” in this blog but the story continued after that and concluded for now upon us receiving a package from our beloved friends in the US. 

The package contained risograph prints Andy made; Chikara’s and my painting Andy risograph-printed and his own risograph prints. Risograph is a brand of digital duplicators which is a cross of screen printing and photocopying. 

Chikara and I spent 3 month in Nashville, Tennessee about 5 years ago. A friend of mine kindly set up an artist in residence type of opportunity for us at her parents’ house in Nashville so we got to stay with them and created a lot of art. During our stay, we met a lot of artists. One of them is Andy Gregg who is originally from Nashville and now works and lives in Chicago with his beautiful and amazing wife Alexis Gregg. 

That was the first time for Chikara to be in the US. But when we got there, he kept saying that things looked strangely familiar and he had seen them before. It is because, he analyzes, he grew up watching so many American movies so he has subconsciously been influenced by US culture and all the images from the films are embedded in him. 

Andy felt the same when he came to Japan a few years ago. He loved and still is obsessed with Japanese comics, games and animations. He grew up looking at so many Japanese cultural images that when he got here he felt he had already seen things before.

And that artist who was influenced by Japanese culture recreated Chikara and my work who are also influenced by American culture, using the technique which developed in Japan, which we can see the similarity and the influence from Ukiyo-e, which is, needless to say, the most outstanding invention of Japanese art technique of all time. 

Lastly, we would like to thank Andy and Alexis for collaborating with us in such an inspiring way. We are now in love with risograph and printing more work this weekend. We will be excited to show you all the outcomes to come!!

The UKIYO-E 2020

mokumoku studio visited Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum a few days ago. The exhibition we went for is titled “The UKIYO-E 2020”, which is Japanese famous woodblock print.

Oh my I was so tired after appreciating more than 450 pieces, which was much more than our expectation. But it was very exciting from the beginning to the end because those masters’ visual sense of use of colors and lines are so sophisticated and ahead of its time even now. 

There is a certain fixed style though that most of the paintings seem to follow in terms of how the lines of kimono flow and how the human faces are similarly expressed, which reminds me of Japanese manga and that it was very much influenced by Ukiyoe. So many beautiful pieces are up but Utamaro was the best in my opinion, Everything he made was so sexy. 

So sexy because in some of his late work he intentionally didn’t draw lines to express lines and the volume. Those women he painted are so beautiful, which is not the beauty we know of. 

written by Tomoko Kakeda

illustrated by Chikara