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Ukiyo-e Heroes, Director – Toru Tokikawa

May 16, 2017

This was one of my favourite films and damn it – also Japanese. However in this case it focusses on a Canadian artist and immigrant to Japan. David Bull is the artist who became intrigued with the ancient art of Japanese woodcuts or Ukiyo-e. This is a complex but beautiful art form that is in decline as modern techniques have changed how artists work around the world. Bull is one of a very few remaining woodcut artists in Japan and he is looking for ways to increase interest in the art form and maintain its traditions. As part of this he partners with a younger American artist who also had an interest in the techniques. Jed Henry is the American living in Utah and two communicate primarily through Skype. Jed is an artist interested in creating images of comic book heroes and works with manga and anime styles common to Japan. He creates the images and David Bull creates the woodcuts to reproduce them in the traditional style. While following their story we learn much about woodcutting style, its limits and its qualities. We also see how these two artists have created a successful market for this traditional Japanese art form blending it with modern popular images. You can find their work and order it if you like at their website: http://ukiyoeheroes.com/

I recommend a visit – it’s a great site and the images are beautiful.

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