12 Μαρ 2014

connecting the past to the present*

here are some beautiful japanese illustrations. if you have a moment, sit and observe them, see how tradition intertwines with modern design and illustration. let the drawings carry you away and imagine the scenery and nature, because this is exactly what illustrating japanese nature is - meditation on nature and life.
illustrator yuko shimizu is new york based and multiply featured artist. there is a great article with her words in it that definitely offers some great food for thought.
above is an   illustration of a chrysanthemum variety "nishiki no mihata" from the japanese book "a hundred chrysanthemums" by keikwa hasegawa.
this is an illustration by young artist masayoshi mizuho. i find his art very contemplative, and the way he depicts nature reminds me a lot of gaming design techniques, and images from that time we spoke of locoroco.
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toshiyuki fukuda is another young illustrator. his work is magnificent in that it is also not the utter realism you often see or expect. he takes nature many steps further and ignites your imagination. if it was up to me to say, that is one of the best ways to do art!

16 Οκτ 2013

ENcyclopedia of Flowers - Really.

a new book that i have been all admiration for is the "encyclopedia of flowers" by shunsuke shiinoki which is about the mesmerizing works of makoto azuma.
makoto azuma is a flower artist. he creates synthesis' with flowers and plants. his work takes the unique and never repeated figures found in flora and synthesizes them in a way that extends their existential value. 
his work, like a true japanese, travels the mind. it will never fail to make you think, wonder and lose yourself in the highness that is nature. 
the series pictured above is one that captures me the most. it is work that appears to put life in a capsule in the most aesthetically pleasing way, almost as if to perserve it. the contrast created by the fact that your mind knows the fatality of this work that lies in the delicateness of flora is simply captivating.
his works encapture the concept of "the cycle of life" magestically, as they change as the flowers inevitably age to their decay.
in this book, there are photos of his works taken by shunsuke shiinoki, a well established and known photographer who captures the essence of azuma's work.

i reccommend this to anyone who loves art, gardening, photography and nature as seen through the japanese scope which seems to have been perserved extremely well within these artists. 

23 Ιουλ 2013

we introduce to you, kokedama gardens

it has become quite the trend here in the states, with features all over well renowned blogs, websites and magazines.
kokedama gardens, otherwise known as string gardens are precisely that. within a (let's call it) mold of clay and moss, lay root balls. the moss wraps around the ball shape of the plants root with the stabilizing clay and is then tied traditionally with natural string and hung from desired place. this is an old japanese technique which i am currently researching its history.
so far it is to be understood that this gardening technique, or style, was used so as to allow the plants to find their balance.
balance is a very strong element in all aspects of japanese design. it is strongly connected to nature, almost by definition, as all things natural answer to an internal harmony which dictates proportion and even life and death. it is also connected to the concept of the cycle of life, which must be respected even in the most urban of environments. entire cities are to function with a cycle just as a forest would, or even a tiny little plant.

furthermore, the results of kokedama can be glorious, as you defy gravity and literally create a hanging garden. i am not to get into the, already well known, details of the countless reasons why planting is good for us and simply give you imagery from around the web.
below, is a project by fedor, inspired by this japanese technique to which he was drawn from the scarcity of free space and love for gardens.

more captivating images can be found here and here.

pet architecture*

no matter how many times i look at my storage space and think i should cut down on certain things, when it comes to books i fail with a blast. my list has lengthened again and there is one book in particular i felt was more than worth sharing with you!
having researched japanese architecture and nature, i became fascinated when the case reached the contemporary need to create habitable space in anything that exceeds. a movement was developed called "pet architecture" also starring the coolest firm - bow wow.
so, pet architecture namely concerns architectural works that evolve in awkward spaces between old buildings, narrow alleys, sharp corners and rigid space that was left after others constructed. these are spaces which seem unlikely to bear the ability to house one person, not to mention an entire family!

within the concept of recycling space, using what you have without spreading the city over more and more rural area, the idea of pet architecture actually coincides with some areas of a very old japanese design logic. having respect for your sources, using them in a way that contributes and playing with contradictory elements like boundaries and exteriors are characteristics that can be found deep in their architectrual past, and seeing them applied so differently (but still, applied) today in utterly urban and technologically advanced cities is simply thrilling!

this is another one of their books showcasing work along these fascinating lines. the design is impeccable and the entire book is a great source of inspiration, especially for anyone who like me, lives in a very small space. it is amazing what you can do with unlikely material (not necessarily expensive) and how many ways there are to create more space!

28 Μαρ 2012

japanese reads

i have developed a new passion...
japanese magazine hunting!
the mook.
it's not a book and not a magazine, it's something in between and this one is about design!

otherwise, traditional, japanese comic books.
on the inside they are supposed to be black and white, the images are divided horizontally and placed one under the other on the page. meaning, you normally read them from top to bottom.
we find it really interesting to study the images of the human body, especially facial expressions and the illustration of "natural" beings. every form and shape has a different meaning.
this is a japanese-english architecture magazine, unlike the mook that is entirely japanese.
it has great and influential history in its background.

there are various japanese craft magazines,
this one particularily stood out because it's devoted to paper.
japan has great history with the use of paper, not to mention that it is a natural material, with very high recycling potential which is also important, as the japanese culture is not one to waste any resourses.