Takashi Murakami (1963- ) is a Japanese artist who has gained international fame for his strange and rather terrifying art.
Murakami is considered one of the most thought-provoking contemporary artists in Japan, and it is easy to see why. Looking at his art is a bit like being on acid (or at least how this is being portrayed in films, I have no personal experience with acid). His work range from cartoony paintings to sculptures, giant balloons, performance events and factory produced watches, t-shirts and other products. He also collaborated with Marc Jacobs to create handbags for Louis Vuitton, which is always a good thing. His signature character is called Mr. DOB, a creature vaguely reminiscent of Mickey Mouse, only the nightmare-version.
Murakami is classically trained in the traditional nihon-ga style, something that is recognizable in his art, in between all the references to pop-culture. He himself does not consider his work pop-art however: “If my art looks positive and cheerful, I would doubt my art was accepted in the contemporary art scene. My art is not Pop art. It is a record of the struggle of the discriminated people.”
Please enjoy some more pictures of his work:
I, at least, find his art really, really scary. But still brilliant. What do you think?
So I came across this poem and I really wanted to share it with you. It epitomizes a feeling I think so many teachers can recognize, especially those who teach at a higher level where one would expect people to be at least halfway enlightened. So please enjoy
Sea of Faith
By John Brehm
Once when I was teaching “Dover Beach”
to a class of freshmen, a young woman
raised her hand and said, “I’m confused
about this ‘Sea of Faith.’” “Well,” I said,
“let’s talk about it. We probably need
to talk a bit about figurative language.
What confuses you about it?”
“I mean, is it a real sea?” she asked.
“You mean, is it a real body of water
that you could point to on a map
or visit on a vacation?”
“Yes,” she said. “Is it a real sea?”
Oh Christ, I thought, is this where we are?
Next year I’ll be teaching them the alphabet
and how to sound words out.
I’ll have to teach them geography, apparently,
before we can move on to poetry.
I’ll have to teach them history, too-
a few weeks on the Dark Ages might be instructive.
“Yes,” I wanted to say, “it is.
It is a real sea. In fact it flows
right into the Sea of Ignorance
IN WHICH YOU ARE DROWNING.
Let me throw you a Rope of Salvation
before the Sharks of Desire gobble you up.
Let me hoist you back up onto this Ship of Fools
so that we might continue our search
for the Fountain of Youth. Here, take a drink
of this. It’s fresh from the River of Forgetfulness.”
But of course I didn’t say any of that.
I tried to explain in such a way
as to protect her from humiliation,
tried to explain that poets
often speak of things that don’t exist.
It was only much later that I wished
I could have answered differently,
only after I’d betrayed myself
and been betrayed that I wished
it was true, wished there really was a Sea of Faith
that you could wade out into,
dive under its blue and magic waters,
hold your breath, swim like a fish
down to the bottom, and then emerge again
able to believe in everything, faithful
and unafraid to ask even the simplest of questions,
happy to have them simply answered.
Hello my dearies. Things are quite chaotic still here in Norway, so I thought it would be nice to share some wonderful, wonderful, amazing music: Anaïs Mitchell’s folk opera Hadestown.
This is a musical based on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, but set in a post-apocalyptic American depression era. The cast includes, among others, Ms. Mitchell herself, Ani Difranco and Greg Brown.
I really, really, really recommend this CD to everyone. It is absolutely magical!
You can read more about it here: http://www.anaismitchell.com/home.html
And here is a sneak-peak:
The most unusual thing I ever stole? A snowman.
Midnight. He looked magnificent; a tall, white mute
beneath the winter moon. I wanted him, a mate
with a mind as cold as the slice of ice
within my own brain. I started with the head.
Better off dead than giving in, not taking
what you want. He weighed a ton; his torso,
frozen stiff, hugged to my chest, a fierce chill
piercing my gut. Part of the thrill was knowing
that children would cry in the morning. Life’s tough.
Sometimes I steal things I don’t need. I joy-ride cars
to nowhere, break into houses just to have a look.
I’m a mucky ghost, leave a mess, maybe pinch a
I watched my gloved hand twisting the doorknob.
A stranger’s bedroom. Mirrors. I sigh like this–Aah.
It took some time. Reassembled in the yard,
he didn’t look the same. I took a run
and booted him. Again. Again. My breath ripped out
in rags. It seems daft now. Then I was standing
alone amongst lumps of snow, sick of the world.
Boredom. Mostly I’m so bored I could eat myself.
One time I stole a guitar and thought I might
learn to play. I nicked a bust of Shakespeare once,
flogged it, but the snowman was strangest.
You don’t understand a word I’m saying, do you?
Carol Ann Duffy
This weekend Vili Flik attended their very first fashion runway show. The host was Fretex Unica, our favourite secondhand store, which is, unfortunately, to be closed down at the end of June. It will be sorely missed!
The show was fun, though, and I can see how fashion shows can become addictive. All them cool outfits!
Below is a selection of what was modeled, all the clothes, and many more, can be purchased at Fretex Unica, at Mercur Senteret in Trondheim.
Shaun Tan is an Australian artist and maker of some of the most beautiful picture books I’ve seen. His style is dream-like and surreal, with lots of little, weird creatures.
Shaun graduated from the University of WA with a joint honors in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works as a freelance artist in Melbourne. My type of guy, indeed. His books deal with social, political and historical subjects, and many of them have been widely translated.
Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, and he worked as a concept artist for the films Horton Hears a Who and WALL-E. In 2010 he won an Oscar for the short film The Lost Thing (which, incidentally, is narrated by Tim Minchin). And just last week he received the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for his contribution to international children’s literature. Yes, this man is happening, people!
I highly recommend that you check out his work, it is truly unique and magical.
Miwa Yanagi is a Japanese photographer with a taste for the surreal, the dark and the frightening. She creates elaborate, and often costly, staged events using female models of all ages. The models may display ages different from their own in the photos, emphasizing the weirdness of it all. I would like to share with you her exhibit entitled “Fairy Tale”, in which she has tried to capture the cruelty and brutality of fairytales. Enjoy!
Want to see more? Go here: http://www.yanagimiwa.net/e/index.html