Guest Posts

Guest Post: Hirst, Hockney, Ballard-Wyllie And The Timeless Charms Of Cherry Blossom

By Eddie Saint-Jean

Two superstar artists, one aspiring contemporary artist divided on visual language but united by a shared appreciation of Japan’s national flower. The art world has suddenly gone all cherry blossom. And why not? Damien Hirst has gone from pickling sharks, and Swarovski crystal-studded skulls to painting blossoming flowers.

And not to be outdone, David Hockney’s cherry blossom efforts have also been in the news as he swaps paint for an iPad to capture the blossoming magic of spring at his Normandy retreat. London artist Denise Ballard-Wyllie claims she was there first, painting them since she was a child and this passion was rechannelled during a residency at Myddleton House Gardens in Enfield painting cherry blossoms and capturing the super-charged content of nature.

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Poetry

Akogare

The day I started drawing

I wanted to be like Hiroshige

who painted poetry in colours

carved landscapes from pigment

willed animals to exist by the force of his technique

I imagined what it must’ve been like

for him to travel 300 miles on the Tokaido Road

an artistic pilgrimage, chasing seasons

guided by the force of his vision

There’s only one Hiroshige

The same as there’s only one me

And that’s enough

Book Reviews

Ukiyo-E: The Art Of The Japanese Print Review: A Beautiful Book Filled With Exceptional Art And History

Ukiyo-e The Art Of The Japanese Print book.

When it comes to Japanese art, ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) are arguably the best representation. Often produced as woodblock prints, ukiyo-e have captured the imagination of people all over the world, providing a romanticised version of Japan that’s connected to ‘The Floating World’ of pleasure palaces, geisha, samurai and kabuki actors during the Edo period.

Frederick Harris’ Ukiyo-E: The Art Of The Japanese Print may well be the definitive version of Japanese woodblock prints. Filled with beautiful artwork and commentary on the greatest Japanese artists of all time, the book is a must-read for anyone who’s interested in art history and Japanese culture.

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Book Reviews

Water, Wood & Wild Things Review: A Beautiful Book About The Yamanaka Way Of Life

In Japan, there are many remote places worlds away from the bustling megacities of Tokyo and Kyoto. The town of Yamanaka in Ishikawa Prefecture is one such place and writer Hannah Kirshner reveals the intimate details of this mountainous town in Water, Wood & Wild Things: Learning Craft And Cultivation In A Japanese Mountain Town. 

Lyrical, vivid and beautiful, Kirshner’s book is a window into a part of Japan that few have explored in literature and from the very first page, you’ll be transported to Yamanaka and feel right at home.

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