Japan 365: A Drawing-A-Day Project (英語) ペーパーバック – 2012/5/24
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JAPAN 365 is the Essential art book of Japan. An excellent hand-drawn retrospective and an amazing feat of sustained creativity. Entirely bilingual in English and Japanese. Artist and English teacher J Muzacz set out on a journey with some sketchbooks and ordinary ball pens. A test of artistic endurance, J drew an A4 (8.5in. x 11in.) piece for everyday of 2011 while living, working and traveling in Japan-A Drawing-A-Day Project for 365 days. Delving into history books for classic traditional imagery and embarking on broken bilingual conversations with locals about hidden shrines, temples and festivals, helping harvest rice, eating strange food, dissecting fashion and more, J has unearthed some real gems that many Japanese people do not even know about. Working from life and with stills captured by some of Japan's finest photographers, depicting Hokkaido in the arctic north to Okinawa in the tropical south and everywhere in between, J has captured history, culture and current events in stark and striking black and white, reminiscent of Japan's archetypal art style-the Hanga woodblock print. Images range from beautiful landscapes to scenes of unsettling tsunami aftermath, women wearing kimono to unfinished old faces-- always evocative and educational, insightful explanations or anecdotes on every page, laid out clearly in both English and Japanese. Muzacz re-establishes artwork as a viable means to record a unique folk history while still communicating universal human tendencies and timeless natural beauty. Let us not forget that visual art is a valuable story-telling medium which transcends language barriers. Japan 365 is a must-have for aspiring artists or architects, Japan-o-philes of any kind, Asian art aficionados, anyone interested in Japanese language, history and culture, or simply someone in need of a little daily creative inspiration. Japan 365 is a useful Art/Reference volume, cultural study, coffee table book and more. You definitely want to add this one-of-a-kind book to your collection.
Artist/Teacher J Muzacz has spent most of the last decade living and traveling abroad. Always drawing and painting alongside teaching, he makes his mark in both murals and in the minds of today's youth. The everyday of living in a foreign country provides an immensely inspirational insider's stance. Especially since J has an academic background in Sociology (University of Texas), he is able to dissect and incorporate local imagery with a certain fleeting authenticity. Reflecting on the motive behind J's creative pursuits; Public art, including murals, and now books, is not only rooted in the aesthetic. These forms are accessible educational tools, too. Images, as opposed to words, are not bound by language barriers. Keep an eye on J and upcoming projects via his website, http: //www.jmuzacz.com. JAPAN 365 is just the beginning...
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By organizing these drawings according to subject matter - landscapes, food, people, gods, etc. - Muzacz builds a full sense of place. And the accompanying text, though unobtrusive, is often a source of additional delight. The prose style hits the right balance of informative travelogue and offbeat narration. The gloss for the "natto" drawing in the food section, for example, combines the camaraderie of the 2nd person ("the slimiest food you will ever eat") with slightly askew phrases like "consumed humorously throughout Japan," in which the narrator's own personality, his own comical struggle for expression comes into relief, sort of like those Van Gogh paintings where, when you get up close to a real one, you can feel the hand of the artist, see where he was actually pushing the handle of the brush along the canvas.
Overall the sense of place predominates. But it is a place being envisioned as well as depicted by our own quirky companion, our own Virgil, J Muzacz.