“Utamaro” in Fantasista Utamaro is inspired by legendary Edo period painter, Utamaro Kitagawa. Fantasista Utamaro’s latest artwork, R4U (Respect for Utamaro) is an homage to Utamaro Kitagawa with respect and celebration. He re-rendered his Ukiyoe, with eyes, cane, and arms from Anime characters, emoji from the Internet generation and good luck cats in Yose-e (literally, an assembled picture) style.
Ukiyoe from Edo Period, Japan was a device used to record documents for visual transmission but it’s also culturally important in Japanese art history. Utamaro believes in current pop culture surrounded by Anime, which will be great factors when people talk about Japanese cultures in the future and use them to make this artwork.
In this artwork, anime characters’ arms and magic cane are symbols of bravery as a key of saving the world and emoji’s good luck cats are mascots to bring good luck. With only positive elements, it expresses respect for great Japanese culture and it is a celebration for culture of Japan-specific development like spontaneous combustion.
For celebration of traditional technique and editon, lithograph is made by Atelier Idem Paris, well known for using French traditional printing technique. Keizaburo Matsuzaki was in charge of printing in Tokyo, Japan and Senrei Sekioka was in charge of woodcarving.