STATEMENT ----- BIOGRAPHY--------The NAME----- PRESS -------CV/RESUME
Jonathan Wakuda Fischer
Seattle, WA USA
Modern graffiti inspired art in the style of traditional ukiyo-e woodblock prints.
Analog and digital. Improvisation and Iteration. Tradition vs. innovation… I have always existed with dualities. Growing up biracial in small town Northern Wisconsin, I was culturally isolated but had the privilege of visiting extended family in Japan. Art kept me in touch with my Asian roots and became a tool for personal exploration of my family’s history. Exploring the interplay between East and West has given me the opportunity to better understand both cultures and create something uniquely hybrid.
My youth additionally coincided with society’s transition from an analog to a digital world. In hindsight I feel very fortunate to have grown up in this period. I feel my generation can shift between different realities with an ease that others may not possess. I feel this has benefited my art greatly, because while I love technology I am wary of overdependence on machines.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that nature and technology are my two main inspirations; these themes have always fascinated Asian cultures. As societal coexistence with nature has never been more vital to our existence, my growth as an artist has led me to change what I make and how I make it, which includes a conscious exploration of sustainable mediums like paper.
I grew up in isolation. I use art to explore my culture.
But I believe it is my Japanese-American heritage and use of subtlety with a uniquely biracial aesthetic that sets me apart.
Combining studies of traditional Japanese art with modern process and content, my work seeks to address a post-globalized world as well as my own personal biracial history. Using the aesthetic of ukiyo-e woodblock prints, I combine anachronisms and layers of homage to explore cultural dualities. In doing so, I feel like I am part of a centuries-old artistic discourse that has long addressed lineage, obsolescence and appropriation.
Ukiyo-e was one of the first mass produced forms of pop art, and the same woodblock design was often used with different color applications to achieve a variety of prints. Using the modern process of stencils and spray paint, I pursue a similar modularity amid repetition in both color and form. Producing variations of the same design allows for ‘play’ in the grey area between uniformity and singularity. I believe addressing the nature of individuality within a system is both a response to cultural homogenaity and a fundamental concern of 21st century existence.
Wakuda (Wha-Koo-Dah) is my Japanese family name; I use a hybrid of my family kamon as both an iconic branding image and a way to honor my past. Exploring the nature of Ukiyo-e and the interplay between Japan and America has given me the opportunity to better understand both cultures and create something for the future.
Growing up Asian in the homogenous Midwestern United States meant that I was keenly aware of my cultural and aesthetic differences from an early age. Regular visits to my mother’s native Kyoto helped me keep in touch with my Japanese roots and planted the seed of the art I create today.
THE WAKUDA NAME
(rhymes with 'Wakanda')
Even to native Japanese,
'Wakuda' is a rare surname.
WA = peace
KU = eternity
DA = field
So the rough translation is 'Fields of Eternal Peace.' There are other Wakudas online, most notably Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda. Someday I'll have to collaborate with him.
Permeated by advertising, modern society is full of graphic memes.
I think it’s no surprise, as iconography is rooted in the very fundamentals of human social culture.
The Wakuda kamon, my Japanese family’s graphic identity, has existed for hundreds of years and I’m very aware of that weight. Using it in my own way means respecting the past as well as adding to the future.
Using the original kamon as base, I created an icon that was both tribute yet original. I deliberated for over a year about this design because it's a constant reminder of what I need to do.
Repurposing the design elements in a new way, I feel this icon is 'emblematic' of my approach to culture and art.
(Kah-mon) An emblem used to decorate and identify an individual or family, similar to the badges and coats of arms in European heraldic tradition.
(Hahn-ko) A stamp used in
lieu of signature in personal documents, contracts, art,
or any item requiring acknowledgment or authorship.
“With mixed-media pieces that deal with themes of heritage
and disorientation... Seattle artist Jonathan Wakuda Fischer
displays works in spray paint, styled after 18th-century wood blocks that fuse former beauty icons — like geishas — with modern urban symbols.”
-Marian Liu, The Seattle Times
“The newest paintings feel
even more tightly engineered while also getting surface
textures involved for the first time, collage papers affixed
in a manner like street wheat-
pasting. You wouldn’t say Wakuda Fischer paints so
much as assembles paintingsdrawing, spray-painting,
stenciling, collaging, and
airbrushing his way toward gleaming towers of symbols.”
-Jen Graves, The Stranger
Jonathan Wakuda Fischer
Born: 1981 Spooner, WI USA
Work: Seattle, USA
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A. Communication Arts, graduated 2005
Juxtapoz Magazine 'Surreal Salon 9' Baton Rouge Center for Contemporary Arts, Baton Rouge, LA. January 4th
"Future Tense" collaboration with Seattle Shibari, SEAF 2017 April 28th
Resident design-to-build muralist @SkB Architects, Seattle, WA
Rebels of the Floating World' with Louie Gong 'Artxchange Gallery, Seattle, WA. August 23rd
Residency @Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York City, March 2014
“Digital Superstitions” Artxchange Gallery, Seattle, WA. August 23rd
"Selected Prints" Brick Lane Gallery, London. December 12
Art Revolution Taipei International exhibition. April 22nd
“Anachronisms” 5024SEA Gallery, Upper Playground, Seattle, WA. February 7th
“The Black Ships” Artxchange Gallery, Seattle, WA. May 6th
Sweet Streets International Urban Art Festival, Melbourne Australia. October 8th
American/Asian: A Tale of New Cultures, Seattle City Hall. April 1st
“Deconstructing the Floating World” Lower Haters Gallery, San Francisco CA. April 14
“The Gossip” Bamboo Grove Salon, Portland, OR. July 3rd
“St3ncil” w/Peat Wollaeger and David Soukup, Rotofugi, Chicago
“American/Asian: A Tale of New Cultures” Artxchange, Seattle, WA
“Artifakt Signature Gallery” Kristos, Seattle WA
“Let There Be Art” Room Installation, Seattle City Hostel, Seattle WA
“Antiquities” Starlife on the Oasis, Seattle, WA
“Mixed Messages” Galactic Boutique, Seattle, WA
“Rejection Collection” Joebar Galleria, Seattle, WA
“Vinyl Apocalypse” Lower Haters Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Artifakt group show LoFi Performance space, Seattle, WA
w/Ralph Stollenwerk and Matthew Cole, Studio 27.28 Philadelphia, PA
2010-2011 Wing Luke Asian Museum, Seattle WA. Artist Mentor for YouthCAN
2010: Highly Commended Award: Sweet Streets International Urban Art Festival, Melbourne Australia October 8th
2012: Finalist, Art Revolution Taipei International competition
Graves, Jen. "Scared?" The Stranger August 28th 2012
Lopez Jr., Xavier. "Jonathan Wakuda Fischer -Japanese design, German Engineering" Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog, February 9th 2012
Liu, Marian. “Fantasy and Myth and Seattle Galleries” Seattle Times May 6th 2010
Saito, Laurel. “Local Art Inspired by Japan and Japanese Identity.” The North American Post 9 December 2009
Van Pragg, Judith. “Not Your Average Baker’s Dozen: Thirteen American/Asian Artists Visualize Their Stories.” International Examiner June 2009
Liu, Marian. “Identity, refuge, word-of-mouth & nouveau pointillism.” Seattle Times May 2009
Goldfarb, Lynnore. “Deconstructing the Floating World.” Artbusiness.com 9 April 2009.
McCool, Sara “Review: St3ncil/Rotofugi Gallery.” Newcity Art. March 2009
Swanhuyser, Hiya. “VINYL APOCALYPSE: New and Original Art on Vinyl.” San Francisco Weekly June 2008