Everyone’s probably pretty familiar with ukiyo-e, or woodblock prints from Japan, thanks to artists like Hokusai. At one point I think I even visited a woodblock museum in Tokyo where I wandered around, looking at Edo-era prints. In some vague part of my mind, I’d equated woodblock prints with hansoms, cuneiform writing and oil lamps – something we no longer have to use because we have better versions of the same thing. But as it turns out, there’s no better version of woodblock – the original is still the best. Woodblock is alive and well in the twenty-first century, and Yuki, aka Yuko Chikazawa and Maki Shimizu, are producing fantastic woodblock prints (above and below).
Their website has a great explanation of how they stumbled onto woodblock printing, and how they try to combine traditional techniques with modern images. The traditional ukiyo-e prints generally depicted ordinary people going about their work, and Yuki have tried to do the same by using their friends (and friends’ friends) as their subjects. Plus, according to their website, every time they exhibit, they’ve ‘got hot feedbacks’. If that isn’t incentive to continue, I don’t know what is.
I discovered Yuki thanks to my sister, B, who’s lived in Berlin for the last couple of years (sigh of jealousy). She’s friends with Mawil, the cartoonist who is the subject of the picture above (and who warrants a whole post to himself some other time).
Blocking Wood website with lots more pics here.
:: Arwen ::