This view greets me overtime I return to Onishi. The weather may change but the green and the water are always welcoming.
Onishi, Gunma has a great art residency program with Shiro Oni Studio. The studio and the town are really doing great things to support art. 2018 marks the fourth Kanna Art Matsuri. This festival also showcases the work by the artists in residence during that session. It’s a great time to relax, meet people and enjoy looking at and talking about art.
I really enjoyed the residents’ artist talks. In fact, I was so into what they were saying, I forgot to take photos!
As a past artist in residence and being a local-ish artist, I was invited to participate. This year I showed three pieces I took in Onishi during different visits. I printed on washi paper and mounted them on gessoed wood panel.
The chair scene and the glass of plum wine are from a summer I was writing haiku on the second floor of the Shiro Oni Studio’s repurposed old kimono shop called Kinuya.
I had a chance to continue my mushroom photo project after I helped with the deinstall. I appreciate the way Shiro Oni Studio gives different ways to work on one’s art practice and also experience nature.
Thanks Shiro Oni Studios and artists for the great art festival!
note: edited Nov 3rd, 2018 to put in the correct video–the Sanba River instead of the hedgehog video. Though hedgehog was pretty cute.
The Snowfences series was exhibited at The Neighbourhood and Coffee Starbucks Okusawa near Jiyugaoka Station in Tokyo for the month of July. This series had 13 photos ranging from A2 to A5 in size. They were printed on inkjet washi paper. Everything A3 and smaller was printed on Awagami Paper Factory’s Inbe inkjet print paper.
It was a thrill to see my work on the wall. Many thanks to the manager, Nakano-san and the staff who made the experience so wonderful. It’s a beautiful place to hang art.
The photo, Crescent Moon is probably my favourite in the series though I almost didn’t include it.
Most of the photos were taken during a trip through the Rocky Mountains in Idaho and Montana during stormy, almost white-out conditions so the majority of the work in the show is stormy white.
Later during the trip, the sky cleared to reveal this clear moon. This print will continue to be available on my shop.
Below are some photos from the exhibition and the last day. Thanks again Starbucks and Nakano-san for the wonderful experience!
Cows in Winter
Photos in the back wall.
Night view of Starbucks 2-Chome branch and Crescent Moon inside.
Illustrators Julia Nascimento and Erica Ward created ToCo (Tokyo Collective) which produces sequential art anthologies. Julia Nascimento explains, “Erica and I created ToCo to promote collaborative opportunities for local artists and showcase their artwork in storytelling.” The first issue of ToCo, Hajime, came out early Spring 2018. Hajime presents eight different artists’ first impression of Tokyo. I loved the perspective of the artists and their work. I loved Hajime so I was excited to take part in the second issue, Monogatari.
Monogatari is the tale of things. Thirteen artists tell stories of inanimate objects in Tokyo. The variety of art and points of view are impressive.
Release Party: Thanks to Tokyo Chapter and the ToCo team and everyone who came out to support the release of Monogatari. It was great to see so many people looking at and enjoying the work.
Artist Talk: On the last day, artists talked about their work. It was interesting to hear about the what inspired and influenced the artists when creating their stories. The Sequential Art Meetup Group in Tokyo had a meeting after–another chance to meet more artists!
I interviewed some of the artists about their creative process and thoughts about sequential art. They will be coming out over the next couple days. I will update the links below when each interview is posted.
NOTE: I found this draft from 2015. I did quite a lot of traveling that year but not so much writing about it.
Twenty Thousand Steps in San Francisco
It was supposed to be a relatively easy day. Take the BART from my aunt’s house in Sunnyvale, and hang out with my dad in San Francisco while I do some research for a book I’m working on set just before the 1906 earthquake.
The day started with a walking tour with City Guides and then it was supposed to be research at the San Francisco Public Library’s History Center.
And yeah, those things happened. But then little things kept getting added on. I found out about Argonaut Books. I absolutely had to go to Borderland Books. On the map, it all looks fairly close. Unless you keep making the wrong turns and add extra blocks and hills.
The tour I took was about the history of San Francisco’s private clubs such as the Olympic Club and the Bohemian Club. I practically had to run up Mason Street to get to the corner of Mason and California on time for the tour. I thought I was going to die by the last two blocks at the top. I barely had breath to ask if I was at the right place.
The tour was pretty good, but I wanted more information about the kind of people who went to these clubs, news, scandal and gossip that surrounded these places. I got some of that flavor with stories about Ambrose Bierce getting kicked out of the Bohemian club and helping to found the Family Club.
Mostly I soaked up the flavor of the area and photographed fire escapes.
The History Center found at the Public Library was great. The people at the Main Branch of the Public Library were awesome and very helpful. I got lots of suggestions for researching my fiction book to be set in San Francisco pre-1906 earthquake.
Borderland Books was pretty much as great as I thought it would be. Friendly staff and some great recommends. I’m really going to try to attend the Literary Crawl next weekend.
We decided it would be quicker to walk back to the Caltran station than take a bus or grab a taxi. The night scenes in the Mission district were intriguing. I was imagining going back to 22nd St Station but my dad wanted to go back to San Francisco station. That was a much longer walk than anticipated. But it ended up being the right thing to do since it meant we got seats on the next train.
Over the last couple years since I did a short artist residency in Onishi in Gunma Prefecture, I’ve been lucky enough to attend the summer matsuri. This is a super short post since I’ve written about it before, but I found these pictures from 2015 the other day and it brought back great memories of hot summers, community solidarity and friendliness. I hope I can take more pictures this summer.
Arthur Huang took time out to do a Q &A session for the interview series with Art Byte Critique members participating in the Tokyo Art Book Fair. TABF runs from October 5 to October 8th.
Name: Arthur Huang From: United States Time in Japan: Eight years Occupation: Artist / Researcher
How many TABF have you participated in?
2017 will be the fourth time that I have participated in the Tokyo Art Book Fair.
How long have you been making books?
I have been making artist’s books and zines off and on for the last four years
What is your favorite kind of books to make?
I like to make books which have something unique or unusual in their structure and form.
Do you have favorite materials to use?
I have a fondness for transparent and translucent materials although those materials can be a challenge to translate into book form.
What is the biggest challenge for you when you make a book?
Finding a balance between content and form like any other creative genre continues to be the biggest challenge for me. I often struggle with finding a unique form that does not overpower or silence the content of the book.
What kind of books are you making for this fair?
I am going to publish the second issue in my Dialogue zine series where I take my practice of Daily Drawings and translate that to book form. For the second issue, I am going to shrink the size of the zine and focus on the development on one drawing rather than two opposing drawings. The second issue will be more of an internal dialogue.
I am also going to publish the first 2016 Memory Walks artist book. I have worked with my Memory Walks project regularly in book form over the last four years. The sequential and archival nature of that project seems to lend itself well to the book form. For the 2016 Memory Walks Artist’s Book Project, I will create a series of 12 books, one for each month, which will consist of images from my 2016 Memory Walks eggshell drawings. The books will hopefully be released each month with the inaugural release being October 2016. The size and form of the books will resemble and eggshell, that is smaller and round. That is all I will say about the book itself so as to encourage you to come out to TABF 2017 in October!
What did you learn from last book fair? What are you doing differently for this book fair?
Every year at the TABF is different. You never know where your booth is going to be, you cannot control the weather, and you cannot control who buys your books. I think like any other creative endeavour, I have decided that I will focus on making books and zines that interest me process-wise.
Do you have any art book heroes?
Brian Dettmer and Maya Lin
Do you have any advice for people who want to start making books?
Just start with some blank pieces of paper and learn how to create the book structures you are interested in. Worst case, you have a spare memo pad in book form, best case, you have an awesome new notebook for yourself.
How did working with Art Byte Critique help you prepare your work?
It is also helpful to know that other people are working towards the same goal as you. Ever since the first time ABC participated in the TABF in 2014, there have always been a group of artists that want to work towards the next year’s TABF. There are also artists who have never made artist’s books or zines that find their way into that world. And the regular meetings, of course, as it always helps to have deadlines.
Do you have any advice for people coming to the book fair?
If you have the time, I suggest going through the entire book fair rather quickly to scout out booths that catch your eye. On the second pass, take your time visiting booths that pique your interest. Talk with the artists. Divide your budget for buying books and zines over the number of days you are planning to visit, so you can buy that last minute discovery.
Inside pages from Laundry Dog, a bean book of silver gelatin prints.
Another Tokyo Art Book Fair has come and gone. Really proud of my fellow Art Byte Critiquers for their hard work. Loved their books and it’s so much fun to work with them.
I’m still really interested in creating mame bon. Mame bon translates to bean books, so called because of their small size. My friend kindly described my books as objets, and I was really happy to hear that. I want people to treat them as objects that they can look at and fiddle with and enjoy. I had a few other ideas for books that I wasn’t able to complete for this fair but I’m quite happy with my books this year. Bumble is probably my favorite book. I really like bees and this photo collection of bumble bees and lavender is actually quite cute. My ultimate favorite is the zine MaiNichi Mushroom. Lots of people were interested in MaiNichi Mushroom and some copies were sold. Foxey did a great job to promote the magazine.
What I probably enjoy most is watching people interact with my books. Of course it’s great when they buy them, but I also enjoy watching people pick up the books, discuss them with friends and walk away with a smile. It’s especially flattering to have someone by a book at TABF because there are so many great books for people to choose from!
The last two years I usually did interviews before the fair to promote their work and the fair. This year we were all working up until the deadline and had no time. But I really want to share their work with you so look for artist interviews in the next few weeks.
Tomorrow I will post about a couple of the books I bought. It’s too dark now to take photos that would do the books justice.
If you went to TABF this year, please comment and let me know what you thought of the fair this year. If you have any questions about my books, don’t hesitate to ask!
The Zinesmate Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016 starts next week (Sept 16th)and I’m frantically trying to get my books done in time.
I’ve decided to make fewer books this year but I’m enjoying my projects.
Here is a sneak peak at the contents of one of my mamebon (bean-books, so called because of their small size). This book will be 5cmx5cm when finished. This is the screen shot of the photos to be printed.
I really like bees for some reason. I suppose it’s because I now understand how important they are for the environment. Still haven’t gotten over my fear of wasps and hornets. Baby steps. I haven’t seen many bees around my neighbourhood in Tokyo this year. Other years I’ve seen many bees around the hollyhocks and cosmos. This year? Not so much. Occasionally I’d find bees enjoying the lavender I planted.
Anyway, it’s back to work. I’ll post more info on the time and date of the TABF 2016 this weekend.
If you’re going to be at the TABF, drop me a line. I’ll be with Art Byte Critique again this year.
Lomo Purple can be fun or it can be frustrating. I’ve been using it super lomo-style with a vintage Minolta I bought for 500 yen. It don’t come with a lens and I bought a 50mm to go with it for 10x that but c’est la vie. I meant to use the Minolta for pinhole work by adapting it with a lot of tape and a canon pinhole lens cap. I don’t always have the patience for pinhole and I love that 50mm lens.
It was rainy and gray and a bit chilly in Amsterdam and I think Lomo Purple did a good job of getting that across. Below are some unedited photos I just scanned today (6 months later). I think I like this better than the Lomo redscale.