On his site where the renowned tattoo artist Hiroshi Hirakawa presents his works he uses the subtitle ‘The Giga World‘. Giga refers to a tradition of caricatural, satirical and humorous pictures excluding words. Almost all these ingredients are applicable to the exciting paintings of this original artist.
His paintings are instantly recognizable as they are strongly rooted in the ukiyo-e* tradition, He adopted the ancient ukiyo-e drawing style and blends it with cultural aspects of the present. It should come as no surprise that Hiroshi is grounded in the tattoo world since many of the protagonists are heavily-tattooed and also because of his use of strong vivid colors.
iPod and Starbucks
The portrayed figures in his striking universe contain kabuki actors and actresses (mostly tattooed), abalone divers, mermaids, octopuses, giant spiders, whales, skulls, fox spirit (kitsune) including their flames. Sometimes Hiroshi adds contemporary consumer goods and products such as origami cranes, an iPod with earphones and Starbucks cups. His images often contain a surplus of stamps, cartouches and signatures including Japanese characters divided all over the design.
During their 40 year anniversary world tour in 2015 which started in Tokyo, the band KISS were asked to support The Ukiyo-e Project. This project led by Yuka Mitsui aims to revive ukiyo-e art by bridging the gap between Japanese art and contemporary pop culture.
At least two of the prints were designed by Hiroshi Hirakawa. One of the designs (see video!) depicts Paul Stanley dressed as a samurai fighting off a giant cat while being attacked at the same time by a monstrous bat wearing Gene Simmons’ Demon mask. The other print depicts them as members of the Loyal 47 Ronin (see picture below!).
The following video includes 14 other entertaining paintings by Hiroshi Hirakawa…
*Ukiyo-e is a Japanese art movement that was dominant from the 17th through 19th centuries. The involved artists depicted subjects of everyday life. It literally means ‘Pictures From the Floating World’
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