Odding Wang Talks About Sequential Art and Monogatari.

Odding’s adorable avatar

The first time I met Odding was at the Sequential Art Meetup in July, but we never got a chance to talk. During the set-up for the Monogatari exhibition at Tokyo Chapter in October, we discovered we had a lot in common–especially coffee and mushrooms. Odding’s delicate graphite images for her Monogatari contribution, “Here,” add a wonderful facet to the amazing artwork in the issue. Checkout the Q &A with Odding below.

How long have your been making sequential art?
For decades, since I was around 5 or 6.

What do you like about sequential art compared to other forms of expression?
I think sequential art opens up many possibilities, comparing to single frame images, since it brings fragments of time in itself; Comparing to moving images like movies or animation, it gives the reader freedom of setting your own pace; Comparing to literature, like novels or poetry, sometimes it speaks more with less words or even only visual elements. I like all the above forms as well but I think sequential art definitely has its own unique charm and more potential to be explored.

What inspired your story for Monogatari?
“Here” was about a real story, well, it wasn’t even a story, just a little fragment of memories, when I first moved to my current place and found this little old motsuyaki store, run by a small old lady with (probably) her son, the lady was always smiling and I could tell that she was a very honest and sweet person. One day I noticed a bamboo dragonfly on top of the shelf in the store and she realized that I was interested in it, so she took it down and let me play with it. Back then I couldn’t speak any Japanese, so our communication was basically gestures and smiles. I’m always fascinated with old places and old people, and this kind of little stories always brings me lots of warmth at heart.

What are you most proud of in your story?
I’m proud of its honesty, even though it was a mixture of reality and imagination. The point is whenever I read it myself, I can still feel the same kind of warmth as I did in the little store.

What was the biggest challenge in making your story?
Telling the story without words would be one of the biggest challenges, as I did in my other stories too. I was worried that readers won’t be able to fully understand it, but actually they don’t even have to. The story itself is beyond language barrier, and I think I’m quite satisfied with it. Another challenge would be fitting the artwork into A5 size space without losing much details, and I think the editor and printers did a good job on that.

Do you have any favorite stories or sequential artists that you recommend to readers?
My all time favourite would be Chris Ware, then Jon McNaught, whose way of storytelling kind of inspired “Here”. Besides those two, I’d also recommend Lisa Hanawalt and Nick Drnaso. For books I recommend “The Photographer” by Didier Lefèvre and Emmanuel Guibert; and “Here” by Richard McGuire (Haha my story in Monogatari has nothing to do with this book).

Where can people find out more about your work?
You can check out: www.oddingwang.com, or follow me on Instagram: @odding

Upcoming Exhibitions Including my FIRST Solo Show

It’s been a productive time behind the scenes and now the fun stuff! I have three exhibitions coming up in the next couple weeks. Two are group exhibitions and the other is my first SOLO show!

I’ll be posting more about each show in the future, but for now, this is the schedule.

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016: That’s a Wrap!

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!

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Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016

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.

Happy book making!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony

This week’s photo challenge is harmony. I loved the sheet music image for the challenge post. Fascinating way to see someone’s creative thought.

I can play piano but I’m not really a musician so I was glad to see the other elements of harmony written in the challenge, “the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.” 

And my first thought was cookies and coffee. Pairs that go together. I suppose that is more of a duet. Then I thought of photographing my yarns, exploring the harmonies in the color palettes.

Then I saw this image I took late last fall. I like the composition of the image, the consistent whole I see there. And though I prefer my photos to stand on their own merit, without having to explain the image, the harmony of this photo come from the fact that I took it while I was jogging around my neighbourhood. This is a cute little shrine not so far from my house but I had never seen it before.

The weather was pretty good, though a bit overcast, but I then fact that I could combine exercise, discovery and some photography is really an ultimate kind of harmony for me.IMG_3515.jpg

Chopin, Rain and My Neighbourhood

Walking to Jiyugaoka in the rain. It’s cold but I’m dressed warmly and have waterproof foot ware. I’m a bit bored so I play some music, but what to play on a rainy-misty day? It’s cold and gray and then I see these tulips outside a local flower shop in Okusawa.

 

  
And the answer hits me, this is Chopin weather, Nocturne No.1 in B Flat Minor Op 1-9.

I recently bought the Chopin: The Complete Nocturnes played by Dang Thai Son. 

Chopin is one of my favorites. Mozart can be exhausting and Beethoven can be too dramatic though I like both composers. I soon realized I didn’t own any recordings by Chopin. When I went to iTunes, there were heaps of choices. But what to buy? For interest sake I researched who was the best Chopin interpreter and enjoyed this link: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=6430.0

It’s really far beyond my scope of true appreciation and discernment but I enjoyed the discussion and is how I decided to buy recordings by Dang Thai Son.

So back to the tulips and the inspiration to play Chopin. The music was complex, soothing and the perfect balance of contemplation and energy.

I recommend this as your soundtrack for rainy day walking in Tokyo.

Marukobashi and the Super Moon September 2015

different shot, different editing
Marukobashi and the September 2015 Supermoon (and a bit of train blur)

It’s an unassuming little bridge connecting Kanagawa-Ken to southwestern Tokyo spanning the Tamagawa but Marukobashi has nice arches, a wide pedestrian walkway and some nice lighting. The fact that the sky is relatively open compared to the rest of Tokyo is makes it a logical choice for trying to capture the September supermoon while it was still low in the sky.

I ran home after work, packed my bag and cycled to the bridge. It wasn’t until I was half-way there that I remembered I would be cycling home in the dark and I’d forgotten my flashlight. Too late to turn back and since the fine is $500 for riding without a bike light (though not always enforced) the fact that my route went by two police stations meant I’d be walking my bike back. Luckily, that was the only mishap.

2015-09-supermoon-marukobashi-setup-lori-ono-wTimeanddate.com gave me the time and direction of moonrise. The compass app on my phone pointed me in the right direction. I crossed the bridge into Kanagawa, set up and waited. Sunday night was the eclipse and event though I couldn’t see it in Japan, I’d been pouring over the postings in Flickr and drooling with envy. I particularly liked a photo by Jeffrey Sullivan which was taken this April and you can see here. He was generous enough to give some great info on his shot and some technical aspects of photographing the moon. Somewhere during my perusing I learned about the 500 rule. The 500 rule helps you get nice crispy shots of the moon by determining the longest exposure you can make based on your lens before movement of the moon and the stars blurs the shot (assuming your tripod is sturdy).

500 Divided By the Focal Length of Your Lens = The Longest Exposure (in Seconds) Before Stars Start to “Trail”

There is a great explanation of this at Petapixel.

To my great relief, there were hardly any clouds on Monday compared to my shoot at Tateyama Castle in Chiba the night before. And when that moon peeped over Marukobashi, I was literally jumping up and down. Which required a quick explanation to a family walking past. And here are a few of my shots.

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2015: Q and A with Karin Gunnarsson

The Tokyo Art Book Fair is nine days away. This is the second in a series of interviews with fellow Art Byte Critique members to introduce their work and talk about the show.

Name: Karin Gunnarsson (Nomura)
From: Sweden
Time in Japan: 16 months
Education: MA Photography Royal College of Art London
Occupation: Artist and Japanese Language Student

How long have you been making books?

This is the first artist book that I am showing in public. As for developing the craft I have in the past made hardcover notebooks.

What is your favorite kind of books to make?
I get a great sense of achievement in making a hardcover handbound book.

Plato's Plates by Karin Gunnarsson
Plato’s Plates by Karin Gunnarsson

Do you have favorite materials to use?
I like a book that is interesting and feel exclusive to the touch. The Plato’s Plates book is all in paper with subtle tactile variety, as this was the most suitable option for the project. But I am really fond of using a textile on the cover and a contrasting paper texture and colour for the cover pages inside.

What is the biggest challenge for you when you make a book?
Not rushing

What kind of books are you making for this fair?
I am making one hardcover handbound book in a limited signed and numbered edition and one saddlestitched simpler version of the same book. The book is called Plato’s Plates and  tells a story of transformation and transcendence through a character in a punctured paper suit.

Image from Plato's Plates by Karin Gunnarsson
Image from Plato’s Plates by Karin Gunnarsson

Do you have any advice for people coming to the book fair?
Based on my experience as a visitor last year; allow plenty of time for your visit, comfortable shoes, a strategic plan to navigate the fair and take plenty of breaks as it is quite overwhelming to see so many beautiful and inspiring books. And of course plenty of change and that extra note for that very special object of desire.

Links
https://www.facebook.com/gunakau
www.karingunnarsson.com

Time and Location Details
The Tokyo Art Book Fair is held from September Saturday 19 – Monday 21 (holiday)
at Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tohoku University of Art and Design GAIEN CAMPUS
1-7-15 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
HOURS:
Saturday: 3-9
Sunday: 12-8
Monday: 11-7

You can read about Art Byte Critique artist Lyle Nisenholz here.

Kicking Around With Some Sports Photography

Decided to tag along to my husband’s football game and practice some sports photography. He plays  for Tokyo Hibernia FC. The shooting ended up being more difficult than I expected. There was heavy cloud cover, from impending rain making the sky darker than usual. The field lights didn’t come on until well into the second half.

My 5D MarkIII handled things pretty well all things considered. I ended up shooting at ISO 3200-4000 in order to get some decent shutter speed but I still ended up with more blurred photos than I like. My 70-300 lens is too slow for sports photography on a stormy day. I’d like something faster than f5.6. Might be better on a bright day. I look forward to trying it out again.

Interview with Manga Artist, Angelo Levy

Angelo Levy at his booth at Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014.
Angelo Levy at his booth at Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014.

Angelo Levy is a Brazilian manga artist, part of the Wonderworld team. He also organizes the Tokyo Comic Artists meetup which is a great resource for anyone interested in Manga, particularly for foreigners due to the international make-up of the members. He kindly took some time to talk with me at the Tokyo Art Book Fair 2014.

Where are you from and what brought you to Japan.?
I have been in Japan for 8 years. I first came to Japan in 2000 as a high school exchange student. After majoring in Fine Arts and Animation in Brazil, I got a scholarship to do a masters in Animation in 2006 in Japan.

How did you transition from animation to manga?
I was interested in comics as a student and took comic drawing classes in Brazil. During university I was into animation but after I realized my biggest passion is comics. They seem more accessible. They have more room for imagination. The reader has to participate more actively. You can have your own pace as a reader.

You mentioned that this is your first time at TABF, what do you think?
Many people from the creative field are here, so the understanding of art is a bit better. At Comiket (a comic market held twice a year in Tokyo), people are looking for comics so something different is more of a surprise. Here people are not surprised by something different.

Can you describe your work?
I’m working with fairytales, adopting them to modern Tokyo. The visual is contemporary but the structure is the oldest you can research.

Cover of Akazukin Chan. A modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, set in Tokyo.
Cover of Akazukin Chan. A modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, set in Tokyo.

What are two things you want people to know about your work.
First, fairytales are not meant only for kids. As adults, it’s interesting to take a look at them again and think about what are the deeper messages. What is it that makes the story immortal? They work like symbols. Depending on how you look at it, you can learn different things.

Second is connected to using black and white in my manga. Today there’s a tendency to have realistic content but on the other hand, it’s entertainment that won’t stimulate your imagination. So by working with black and white, the reader has more room for imagination and therefore, more interaction with the work.

 

Thanks for your time! Do you have a website where we can see more of your work?
http://wwstudio.jp/

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