Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another One for the Road

It seems that when everything fails and you keep on trying somebody should just lock you up. Avowing success another figure painter starts down a road of best intentions. What have I gotten myself into? Back from Japan for about a month now and I've decided to start keeping a blog on the works I've been working on from there as well as what they morph into, while hopefully lending some insight into what I'm doing and giving you the reader a chance at the artworks before I sell them in the city. The first series of paintings I've been working on are mix and match sumo diptychs. They are about 4"x5" and are acrylic painted on origami paper mounted on panel. The plan is after compiling 6 sets to issue a small number of related prints and handmade book. As I'm working on these they will lead into how I am approaching a gallery show in Baltimore this September. That will be a busy month of migrating around for sure, with another gig in Savannah. The Sumo paintings are loosely based on the recent matches in Osaka this past March. I've always been intrigued with idea of martial arts and the spiritual mystique of late night black belt theater on T.V. but to be honest I never was into Sumo that much. This changed as I found myself absorbed in watching the televised matches while I was in Japan. Watching over live broadcast I found the matches to be as unreal as those 2 a.m. kung-fu movies. They were, just beautiful. These 2 massive guys enter into a ring, sizing each other up, intimidating each other, slapping themselves like slabs of meat the butcher is showing off, and finally, with speed that is astonishing for these hefty men, they are battling/maneuvering/dancing their opponent by not just brute force but gravitational cunning and in some cases a great deal of grace. Sumo is like a judo match on steroids. As well as combat, sumo is associated with Shinto ritual, and some shrines carry out a ritual dance where a human is said to wrestle with a divine spirit. I've never seen this dance carried out but I choose to imagine it as a Sufi Dervish dance for now. It was also a court ritual called sumai no sechi, where representatives of each province were ordered to attend the contest and fight. On top of that they had to pay for their own way there. Sumo is only practiced officially in Japan but there are a considerable number of foreigners who participate. My favorite being !Baruto! who placed second last March with a 14-1 match record. The Panel on the left has already been sold in conjunction with what will be the last panel in this 12 painting series. Don't despair! There will be 10 more paintings along with a few related prints and a limited edition handmade book of the panels in sequence. To purchase the painting on the right its as easy as clicking HERE which will direct you to my Etsy page! See you in a day or two for the next part. So the beginning of the match starts:

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