'Ukiyo-e Heroes'

Print #8 - Trouble Afoot

Title: Trouble Afoot

Comments from Jed: "Anybody who studies Japanese wood prints can quickly recognize the influence of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi in my work. And although Yoshitoshi never drew turtle-human mutants, he was still a major source of inspiration for this piece. Previous to Yoshitoshi's era, Ukiyo-e artists often abstracted human anatomy to fit their design needs, but Yoshitoshi took an important step toward anatomical accuracy. Following that example, I also made an effort to portray these warriors' muscles correctly, while still embracing the loose brush motions that are so unique to Ukiyo-e. I'm quite proud of the result. These assassins look tense and poised, ready to spring at a moment's notice. Thanks for the help, Mr. Yoshitoshi!"

Comments from Dave: "Starting with this print in the series, Jed and I have begun to move a few steps away from the tenets of classical ukiyo-e. This image uses shadows, perspective, and different 'planes', none of which are normal parts of traditional Japanese designs. Here, we're actually almost into the world of the 20th century 'shin-hanga' - those prints made using the old traditional technology, but with a more modern design ethic. But look how much more dramatic it can become!

"This design is also a wonderful example of how art can be 'better' than reality. Can you imagine trying to take a photograph of this scene? Even if you were hiding in the bamboo grove together with this group of assassins, armed with the most modern of cameras, I think you would be hard pressed to come up with an image that could capture the drama and intensity of this situation as well as Jed has ... (with a little bit of help from us here in Japan! :-)".

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