Posted: November 10th, 2009 | Author: Adeline Wessang | Filed under: no blah blah: one artist | Tags: osamu kanemura, photography, Tokyo | No Comments »
Osamu Kanemura is often cited by Martin Parr as an influential photographer. His images of Tokyo in black and white are very graphic and show the city as a place of constant collisions, confusion and expansion.
Keihin Machine Soul, 20” x 24”, 1996, gelatin silver print
Street photography has widespread in the second half of the twentieth century mostly in Western countries. But Japanese photography is specific for its close relationship with the development of domestic camera companies like Nikon or Canon. This has lead in general to a strong interest in the technology of the medium rather than producing art.
Kanemura’s visual project is an urban portrait of Tokyo from within. We see endless narrow streets, a wide net of electric wires and street signs but also the fact that Tokyo is overcrowded. Some claustrophobic feeling emerges as the horizon line is not to be seen anywhere.
Tokyo, like most Asian cities, is a product of growth. After the Second World War, half of Tokyo was destroyed (equivalent to New York City area). However, pressing economic redevelopment and need of shelter didn’t allow central planners to create the new modern city that they had planned. Thus, the pre-war layout served as the basis for reconstruction: in other words, the city was rebuilt on its ruins. The government focused on infrastructure re-development to support the economy and the residential reconstruction was left to local actors. Slum-type housing, that evolved from village habitats, dominated most areas until 1960s.
Tokyo Swing, 20” x 24”, 1995, gelatin silver print
Remove a device called ‘Understanding‘ from this world. ‘Understanding‘ is only able to understand that it can. Try to capture the images of the unimaginable left behind from the absence of understanding. Photograph is not a device that understands and translates the world but is a device that corresponds to the world without having to understand at all. Capturing images is not an act of accurately reproducing. Even if seen one hundred times the outline becomes ambiguous, untraceable, misleading only to be indefinitely mistaken. Exploding the outline. Abandon this outline, abandon this division.
Osamu Kanemura, 2007
1964 Born in Tokyo, Japan
1993 Graduate from Tokyo College of Photography
Today’s Japan, 20” x 24”, 1995, gelatin silver print
Posted: November 9th, 2009 | Author: Adeline Wessang | Filed under: no blah blah: one artist | Tags: calligraphy, graphic design, illustration, si scott, typography | No Comments »
‘I like to be very hands on with my work‘
Si Scott founded his studio in early 2006. He established his personal style in design, typography and art direction and has worked with a wide range of clients, including Nike, Orange, UNICEF and the BBC.
He always starts by picking a font and then he plays around with different page layouts. The next phase includes the use of fineliners to create the illustration.
His work is extensively done by hand.
Si Scott interviewed by Format Magazine
Can you tell us about your background, please?
Si Scott: I am originally from Leeds, and first studied Graphic Design at Leeds College of Art and Design before going on to study at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College. I have always drawn, for as long as I can remember, in one form or another! I didn’t really know what design was when I was at school as there was no such thing as design. It was just “art & design,” and that was pretty much it as far as studying anything creative went. There certainly weren’t any computers either! Leaving school and attending Art College (and discovering design) was like some kind of revelation to me–-it really opened my eyes to all the different possibilities and ways to apply creativity.
Is your work primarily done by hand or is it a mix of hand drawing and computer art?
I’d say my work is ninety percent hand and ten percent other methods – such as the computer for coloring, etc. I also use paint quite a lot.
You do a variety of graphic art, but it’s safe to assume that your passion is typography. What is it about typography that you love so much?
I really don’t know what it is about typography that I like so much – the obvious reasons are just typography’s forms: the endless possibilities regarding what you can do with it. I never wanted to emulate somebody else’s style; that doesn’t interest me at all. I was always striving to do my own thing! Whilst most people were using computers at college, I was in the print room playing around with letterpress, screen-printing etc.
Over the last few years there has certainly been a movement involving the sort of ornate typography you lean towards. Your work has even been credited with playing a part in why this movement initially happened, and I’m wondering–is it more flattering or frustrating to know that your style of work was adopted by hundreds of graphic designers?
It’s a bit of both I guess-–I can understand why some people choose to adopt other people’s style of work, but on the other hand, it also baffles me a little bit. I think design has become quite lazy of late. Especially with the computer playing such a dominant role, it can be quite easy to just bash something together. I really like looking at design and thinking: that attention to detail must have taken absolutely ages.
The difference between your work and the work that has resulted from it within the design community is that yours is incredibly complex and ornate. How long do you generally work on each piece?
It’s like…how long is a piece of string?
It totally depends on what it is: size, format, etc. I do find it really hard sometimes to estimate how long something will take. I’m getting better though.
You’ve mentioned how you are very inspired by music; what are some of your current favorite sounds?
Interpol, Bjork, Tycho, The Charlatans, Tom Waits, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I could go on all day. I should just say that there are too many to mention, I guess!
Aside from music, where do you find inspiration for your art? Is it an internal reaction to your love of words, or a combination of that mixed with outside influences?
I think it is just a reaction to words-–most of my ideas come from words in one form or another! And due to the fact that I am constantly listening to music, I mostly just seem to be influenced by lyrics.
You recently opened up a studio with Kerry Roper called We Are Bitch. What are you hoping to achieve with this new company, and how’s it going so far?
It was just an idea we had in the pub one night (beer idea)! I’ve known Kerry for quite a long time now, but We Are Bitch isn’t really a studio, it’s just a drunken idea between friends. Neither of us have the time to really pursue it properly. Hopefully, we will be able to work together on something.
Si Scott lives and works in Manchester, UK.