For 2022, Principia invited alumni artists to submit pieces for consideration in its calendar. Apparently the calendar committee received enough submissions it liked that, after the submission deadline, it decided to also to create a set of note cards (which are given as gifts to those who join the alumni clubs and perhaps to donors). One of my paintings was selected for the card set; it’s one I’ve shared before: SV Tommy Dundee. The set is 12 cards, each featuring a different piece.
Interestingly, I hadn’t initially planned to submit the oil painting, but I had an inkling that maybe I should anyway.
Supposedly there is a collage on page 2 of the calendar, & one of my sea turtle paintings, Honu Resting, is included. (I do not have a calendar, so I cannot say where for sure.)
If you would like more than 1 of SV Tommy Dundee in your card collection, you can order a set of my existing cards (5 for $7, 10 for $10); just email me. The artwork on my card covers the entire front (no white field) and fits nicely in a little frame, too.
On another note, I have ideas for at least two more Art Walks. One of them will probably be ready before the end of the year. Stay tuned.
Last but not least, have a happy, blessed Thanksgiving!
Saturday, September 4, 3 p.m. Eastern (2 p.m.Central)
This weekend, The Leaves, a Christian Science nursing facility in Texas, is hosting a virtual meet-and-greet with the artists prior to the art auction on October 2 & 3. (I am curious how much of it will be interactive; we artists recorded short videos to keep things from running too long.) Registration for the Zoom event this Saturday is required; sign up here. Visit www.theleaves.org/support-the-arts to learn more about the events and www.theleaves.org/artauction to see the artwork.
Sunday, September 12, 11 am–4 pm, Seminary Ave., Hopewell, NJ
In two weeks, I will have a booth at Handmade Hopewell, a little local arts & crafts fair in a charming New Jersey town. The fair went digital in the spring of 2020 and is back to being outdoors this year.
Today’s Art Walk has a new theme and timeframe: elementary school.
If you are just starting the Art Walks, welcome. Briefly, this series reviews my art from years past. You do not need to read episode 1 or episode 2 before this one because the content is not chronological. 1 & 2 are thematically grouped to the effect of “Memoirs of a Teenage J-pop Fan Artist.”
I know exactly the drawing to start. Cue Inigo Montoya: “I am waiting for you, Vizzini! You told me to go back to the beginning, so I have.”
As far as school art goes, this is the beginning. When I drew it, I tried to figure out how to do aerial perspective. (I would not have used that phrase then, but I could tell that things look smaller further away.) See the speckled area on the left? I envisioned the neighborhood in the valley visible from my backyard. The small green dots are trees and the larger green patches yards.
In this picture, also from kindergarten, I like that I can see the process—that I built (drew) the snowman before I dressed it and drew hair before putting on the hood. The second is harder to see, but click to enlarge, & look closely at the hood. Part of it is green because the yellow marker blended with the blue. I also like the snowman’s funny expression. (Perhaps I could have used it as the “Oh, no” for the title image.)
There’s no date or grade on the back of the next one. I think it’s from either first or second grade. (Click to enlarge.)
“Frottage” derives from frotter, French for “to rub.” I arranged leaves, laid a sheet of paper over them, and rubbed crayons on it to make the textures of the leaves.
The next pictures are from my early days as an illustrator, long before Racing Pajamas. My elementary school had a small publishing center (basically a cubicle); students could bring a story or essay, select a book cover, and design a title label. A staple-bound book would be ready a few days later.
This is perhaps a desultory illustration to select because the setting is a bathroom, but if Marcel Duchamp can claim to turn a urinal into art, I can show a kid’s drawing of a loo and draw less criticism. (Pun always intended.) I am impressed with the commode & the toilet paper dispenser; all the components are there in decent proportions.
Other projects involved filling blank, pre-bound books, for instance, the fifth grade immigration project. Students learned about waves of immigration to America in conjunction with family history. We read Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse; the next two drawings are depictions of towns in the story.
Unlike everything above, the next two pieces were done in art class (also fifth grade). The first is a scene made after learning about Henri Rousseau’s jungle paintings.
This puma on scratchboard was from a different unit. The directions of the fur were a good challenge.
On October 2 & 3, 2021, The Leaves, a Christian Science nursing facility in Texas, will have an art auction in conjunction with its annual meeting. Two of my paintings will be available for bidding in this online fundraiser.
After episode 1’s “Turning up with the J-pop,” crafting another title was tricky. This one’s a stretch (“star” + “art”), but it fits this installment of J-pop drawings. Today’s mix also features J-rock artists.
Click to enlarge images as needed.
Let’s start with the titular Crazy Rainbow art, inspired by Tackey & Tsubasa’s song of the same name. (“Crazy Rainbow Star” is in the lyrics; hence the “star”/”art” mash.) I drew this in Digital Design my senior year. A close-up of the guy was displayed in a county-wide high school art show.
T&T also featured in relay manga, comics in which my friends & I took turns drawing panels.
I also made T&T shirts (top panel) for a friend & me. My Tackey shirt elicited a lot of pointed comments. Tsubasa’s shirt has no wordplay; tsubasa means “wing(s).” Other outfits are from performances & MVs (music videos): Yume Monogatari and Crazy Rainbow. (Yume Monogatari means “Dream Story” or “Tale of Dreams.” Genji Monogatari is The Tale of Genji.)
I’m fairly sure I once sketched Utada Hikaru, who wrote four songs for the Kingdom Hearts video game series, but the sketches likely were recycled years ago. Too bad—could’ve included a girl. The closest any of us (my high school friends & me) got to drawing SMAP was Photoshopping their faces onto a can of SPAM. That was not a comment on their music; they were one of Japan’s most loved groups, and Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana is two shakes from a national treasure. (I’ve heard them sing it better, but the link has an English translation.) Speaking of “shakes,” they have a song called Shake (1996)—sort of an old-school boogie.
On with the show. Here are drawings for friends featuring (or based on) NEWS. The left pose is from the weeeek single’s lyric sheet. (See #1 further down.) weeeek was composed by the hip-hop/pop-rock band GReeeeN—undisclosed dentists by day—and recorded by both it and NEWS. The balloons are stickers.
The gang back then (“old NEWS”):
Masuda Takahisa (Massu)
Kato Shigeaki (Shige)
Yamashita Tomohisa (Yamapi)
Superimposed is a relay manga panel. Originally NEWS had 9 members. The comic’s premise was that the membership would be further cut, renamed NEWS IN BRIEF, & made to perform in underwear (NEWS in briefs). The punchline pointed to Ryo as next to go since he was also in the group Kanjani8. Kanjani + jyaa (“bye,” “see ya”) = an example of putting the “pun” in “punchline.” Perhaps we were prescient: Ryo indeed left to focus on Kanjani8, and the 3 main players in the comic—Koyama, Shige, & Massu—are the remaining members.
The wordplay here comes from Yamapi’s solo Daite Senorita, the theme song (which we joked about often) for Kurosagi (lit. “black swindler”), a drama adaptation of a manga; Yamapi played the main character. Japanese & Korean use “drama” to refer to live-action TV shows regardless of fiction genre (like the drama department at school, referring to theatre generally). Asian dramas can be comedy or slice of life as well as, well, drama.
Some readers might recognize this pastel drawing.
This is Yamapi in another drama, Nobuta wo Produce (“Producing Nobuta”), in which an unlikely pair of high-school boys try to help a shy girl overcome bullying. Yamapi, Kamenashi Kazuya (from the boy band KAT-TUN), and Horikita Maki (an actress, also in Kurosagi) played the main characters. The guys sang the theme song, Seishun Amigo (link: guitar cover with the KamePi vocals added).
A girl appeared after all!
Next, J-rock stars Gackt Camui & Miyavi.
This is from an unfinished comic. Gackt, Miyavi, and a serious musical classmate competed in the video game Guitar Hero.
Gackt is one of those musicians who can probably play any instrument he’s given. Usually I drew him in an outfit similar to that in the Kimi ga Oikaketa Yume(“Dreams you pursued”) MV because the style is more identifiable than visual kei and other weird costumes. Possibly also because that was (is) my favorite Gackt song. The link is a live performance with English subtitles.
Conversely, I rarely drew Miyavi in the same outfit twice. In the comic, it changed in every panel—a reflection of his can’t-sit-still behavior, which he has outgrown. I don’t think he’s outgrown dyeing his hair every color of the (crazy) rainbow, like in this performance of Kekkonshiki no Uta, a well-wishing wedding song to the girl who married someone else. (At least nowadays his hair is mostly one color at once.) Besides many musical genres—rock, metal, blues, pop, &c.—he’s known for his guitar-slapping style. (Here’s a snippet to see those fast fingers more closely.)
I would feel remiss if I talked about J-rock without mentioning BUMP OF CHICKEN. I did a quick sketch—which doesn’t fit the “blast from the past” focus of the Art Walk, but now there’s a visual. (This is an art blog, after all.)
BUMP OF CHICKEN is an indie/alternative rock band from Chiba (east of Tokyo) & has an identifiable sound & lyrical style. Many of their songs have been used for anime & video games. Actually, all the artists I’ve mentioned in the Art Walk episodes have had songs used (or themselves have starred) in anime, drama, video games, commercials, etc. Japan’s media industries are more integrated than the US’ in that way. Example: BUMP wrote/sang for this promo video for candy company Lotte’s 70th anniversary. Anime studio Bones animated it. Many English-speaking fans assumed this was a trailer for a new anime, not an ad!