European Avant-Garde Meets the Shunga Tradition: Many-Faced Eros of Muramasa Kudo
Among the mottos of this self-taught artist is "one can do it - I can do it." Besides painting, he creates sculptures, plays the guitar, and constructs furniture, considering human life as art independently of what one does.
Compelling Public Figures
The collectors of Muramasa Kudo's prints and paintings are Bill and Hillary Clinton, Robert De Niro, Oliver Stone, Francis F. Coppola, and Saudi Arabian and Belgian royal families. Who is this all-around man, and how has he become a favorite artist of compelling public figures? Let's look at Kudo's art and try to find it out!
Fig. 1. Muramasa Kudo with Bill Clinton in Tokyo (tumblr.com)
Fig. 2. Muramasa with his Sleeping Beauty (instagram.com)
Fig. 3. Sleeping Beauty (instagram.com)
Fig. 4. Bronze composition (herndonfineart.com)
Fig. 5. Cat and Wasp (twitter.com)
Fig. 6. Cat looking at the frog in the bowl (instagram.com)
Fig. 7. A Cat and a Bluebird (livejournal.com)
Fig. 8. Jumping Carp (livejournal.com)
The Winner Is The One Who Doesn't Compete
Muramasa Kudo (or, as can be found on the web, Tadashi Kudomura) was born on June 9, 1948. There is no info on his website about the family or his childhood years. The first crucial event of the artist's bio, as mentioned there, happened in 1955 when seven-year-old Muramasa took up calligraphy. Six years later, he won the Special Award at the Japan Youth Calligraphy Exhibition. Then, the following year, young Muramasa received the Grand Prize at the Asia Friendship Calligraphy Exhibition. The highest point of his success as a calligraphist was in 1963, when he won the Grand Prize at the International Friendship Calligraphy Exhibition, with 13 countries participating. A person of this kind might seem competitive, but, actually, it's not Kudo's case. In one of his interviews, the artist fairly considered views like "he/she is doing better than me" unproductive. He treats his victory in the international exhibition among thousands of hundreds almost as a natural phenomenon - if something must happen, it happens. In this zen world, the only person you can be compared to is yourself.
Fig. 9. Atelier (kudomuramasa.com)
Fig. 10. Goldfish (kudomuramasa.com)
Fig. 11. Goldfish (kudomuramasa.com)
Fig. 12. Unforgettable (twitter.com)
Fig. 13. Starry Night (kudomuramasa.com)
Fig. 14. Top of the World (kudomuramasa.com)
Fig. 15. Reflection, 1985 (twitter.com)
Fig. 16. Tenohira (tumblr.com)
Fig. 17. tumblr.com
Before the Sunrise
Success always comes to the person naturally. Like birth giving or the sunrise, it can't occur sooner or later, despite our efforts. Another trivial notion is whenever the sun goes up, it's preceded by darkness. Muramasa Kudo stepped into a tough situation rather on his own accord. The artist admits he could make a decent living as a designer and restaurant entrepreneur in Japan. Yet, in 1980, he preferred to take a risk and moved to Los Angeles to be near "bare and penniless," as he describes. According to the interview, his wife immediately divorced him after giving birth (probably because she didn't want to move to the USA), and Kudo somehow won custody of the breastfed child. Thus, he relocated with the baby in his arms, which may seem like sane people's worst nightmare. During the first year, the artist earned a living from a part-time job at a Japanese restaurant and devoted his spare time to art. Again and again, he sent his works to art dealers, though many of his letters were sent back unopened. Only two years after Kudo moved to the USA, the LA art poster company commissioned him to produce five posters. However, it's stated on the artist's website that some of his works were exhibited already in 1981, a year after the relocation.
Fig. 18. The Divers (twitter.com)
Fig. 19. Rain, poster,1989 (twitter.com)
In the exclusive Premium edition, you'll discover Kudo's secret behind his methods and techniques, the influences of shunga art, Hokusai's The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife, Picasso and Modigliani, and check out all 68 alluring pics.
Click HERE for the pictures of beauties in the art of Yoga painter Sosuke Morimoto
Sources: Interview with Muramasa Kudo (tomorrowpictures.tv); sugoihito.or.jp; kudomuramasa.com