Render studies for future projects.
Three paintings 40x50" spray paint and acrylic on canvas.
'Gaea Bellium' translates to 'Earth War' which can then be viewed in two ways:
Human wars throughout history- the East (Oriens) and West (Occasus) aesthetically represent Samurai and Greco-Roman helmets/armor. The third piece, which has more of a 'Fallout' gas mask vibe, I titled 'Futurus.' Because, well... I don't think we're going to run out of wars anytime soon.
I guess you could also say the floral element is my techno-futurist representation of the time honored anti-war tradition of placing flowers in gun barrels.
The military/industrial construct of the helmet(s) can also be viewed as society itself, struggling to contain the inescapable submission to nature and time. So, the more environmentalist reading of 'Earth War' would be the literal destruction of the planet.
a person's facial features or expression, especially when regarded as indicative of character or ethnic origin.*
*Like phrenology, another disproven system of physical assessment.
This is an ongoing series of mask/face schematics and cultural mashups from my biracial childhood. Masks are universal in human history, and I wanted to combine them in a very diagrammatic way, something similar to the instruction manuals for model toy robots that I studied as a youth.
All this juxtaposition allows for interplay between hard/soft and modern/traditional. And you know how I love that.
By combining classical ukiyo-e aesthetic and narrative, I wanted to create an anachronistic background to highlight a modern technological concern.
'Digital Love' explores traditional shunga and displays of affection.
'Scareware' addresses malware and digital viruses in the form of yokai, and I based the composition from a Yoshitoshi piece. (There is also a reference to Aphex Twin)
'Troubleshooting' references 'Shoki the demon queller,' a traditional character famous across ancient Asia.
"The iconography of the Raijin and Fuujin gods has been heavily influenced by Buddhist art, itself influenced by Greek and Indian art."
This sort of malleable identity led to the idea of doing another ukiyo-e/hiphop remix. One one side, these two ubiquitous deities who are gods of thunder and wind. On the other, the eternal combination of DJ and MC, represented by one of the greatest-of-all-time duos, Eric B and Rakim.
The original Raijin has drums encircling him, so it wasn't a stretch to imagine them as vinyl records. And since I wanted to depict Eric B and Rakim in the height of their cheesy golden-era-of-hip-hop pomp, I needed to adorn the deities with thick chains and ostentatious jewelry.
I'd never done an airbrush painting this big before, and it took longer than I ever expected. But I also learned a tremendous amount.
More structural explorations combined with modern video game/traditional Japanese culture.
katagami papers are hand cut, mulberry paper stencil designs for the purpose of painting textiles. Treated with oils and layered with reinforcement threads, these antiques are an artpiece in themselves. So what do I do? Cut them up and start painting.
I started the process in a similar manner to collage, using the most advantageous elements of the base material. And designing excess paper as border elements gives the pieces strong compositional qualities.
Creating new designs from stencils I had already used was an additional way to remix multiple formats of media in one artpiece.
The subdued color scheme is a new exploration as well... using the natural worn tones of the paper by picking minimal color additions.
'(UN)known Icons' explores the construction of celebrity and influence through four pivotal figures from the 1960’s/70’s New York City counterculture.
Combining streetart and traditional Asian style, Wakuda creates a fusion that is both modern and timeless. With '(UN)known Icons' he merges stencil graffiti technique with classical Japanese kabuki portraits to reimagine the likes of Andy Warhol, Brian Jones, Steve Paul, and David Bowie. All of these figures influenced the world around them, but each did so in very different ways.
Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust was the original inspiration for the Icons set. Upon watching a film of his 1972 London performance (in kimono), Wakuda was struck by the parallels between his character and aspects of traditional kabuki performance- the artist began to think of other icons in the same era, and how they realized their identities would be perceived over the course of time.
While Bowie transitioned on from the Ziggy character (note the subtle ‘Spiders from Mars’ background), Andy Warhol never lost the wig and other accessories that defined him- from the precise pose of the hand on his chin, to the camera always at the ready. The parallels between traditional Japanese ukiyo-e and Warhol’s 20th century studies in color and repetition are finally connected here.
Wakuda fully explores the spectrum from unknown to icon with the five print series ‘Becoming Andy.’ Warhol begins as almost unrecognizeable- lacking any of the distinguishing characteristics and accessories that complete him, even the famous wig. But over the next four prints, the iconic details gradually fade in and stranger becomes celebrity.
On the other side of the spectrum, the publicly low-key Steve Paul’s critical eye and sharp wit made him a celebrity’s celeb. As a tastemaker for his NYC venue, ‘The Scene,’ Paul created an environment where many future legends gestated. Warhol himself designed posters for the club, and the infamous owner was always standing guard outside, his ever present joint in hand.
Finally, Wakuda uses the tragic figure of Brian Jones to examine genius and self destruction with this ‘forgotten’ icon. As founder of the Rolling Stones, Jones is still lesser known because he died, drowned in a swimming pool, before the height of the band’s fame. Known for his flamboyant outfits and consumption of psychedelic drugs, he is depicted in classic Kabuki actor style. But the variations in the paintings bring different interpretations- pill in hand, Jones seems either lost within another epic trip, or standing before his watery grave.
19x25" Edition of 20.
Hand cut stencil I made when working in Brooklyn and felt homesick for clean air and green spaces.
The simplicity of the stencil allows the colors of the weather to be the emotional focus. And a multi-edition printing is the best way to represent how micro-climates of the Pacific Northwest allow for such variety of weather.
We live in an age when technology is becoming an indistinguishable part of human existence, even as our popular understanding of it diminishes. ‘Digital Superstitions’ explores the duality of this space using the filter of Japanese history as prior cultural metaphor. Rapid industrialization of Meiji-era society meant modern scientific knowledge was in direct contact with timeless elemental folklore. The interaction of these two dissonant worlds provides a wealth of concepts through which to address modern life.
The supernatural world of the Yokai is founded on dualities and contradictions, filtered through time that stood as explanations for the unknown. When faced with eradication through the light of science, Yokai culture survived by hybridizing its most fundamental aspects in a modern context. As a meme that embodies the uknown, this discourse is an ideal way to translate conversations on environmental and futurist concerns, post-humanism, and how culture changes through the passage of time.
Starting to embrace mixed media techniques, this was the first time I really started to manifest inspiration from the streetart world.
May 6 - June 26, 2010
Artist Reception: Thursday, May 6, 5-8 pm
Pioneer Square Art Walk: Thursday, June 3, 2010, 5-8 pm
In “Future’s Past: The Black Ships,” opening May 6 at ArtXchange Gallery, Seattle artist, Jonathan Wakuda Fischer, investigates the dual perception of Japanese culture as hyper contemporary and technologically advanced, yet one that retains and prizes its ancient traditions. Using urban graffiti techniques (spray-paint and stencils), Wakuda references both modern and ancient Japanese aesthetics such as ukiyo-e woodblock prints and the contemporary superflat movement. The paintings in “Future’s Past” tell visual stories based on folklore, anime, science fiction, and Japanese history.
From the very beginning. My first experiments with multilayered stenciling and an exploration of my bi-racial heritage.