Kokoro: The Art of Horiyoshi III
04:10 PM
Horiyoshi art .jpg
London's Somerset House is exhibiting silk paintings and photographs of Japanese tattoo master Horiyoshi III in a special series entitled Kokoro: The Art of Horiyoshi III.

The arts center describes the work:

Kokoro means 'heart' in Japanese; it is the 'feeling', the 'inner meaning' that underpins the Japanese approach not only to art, but to Japanese life as a whole. It is what makes Japan quintessentially Japanese. With this selection of paintings by Irezumi master Horiyoshi III, we hope to make you 'feel' Kokoro; leading you on a journey where the typical japanese nature and legends take life in silk paintings and photographs.

Internationally renowned tattoo artist Horiyoshi III is a great supporter of traditional Japanese culture, history and craftsmanship but yet he embraced the modern western world, observed it, understood it and changed his art, evolving but keeping it japanese; this is ultimately the power and essence of Kokoro. It is a spirit that knows no time or physical limits.
The exhibit is open daily from 10am to 6pm until July 1st and admission is free.

Those who can't swing a London trip can purchase the limited edition "Kokoro" book online from Kofee-Senju Publishers for 199 Euro plus shipping.

For more on Horiyoshi III's work, as well as some historical information on Japanese tattoo, check Don't Panic magazine's article "Horiyoshi III Inks Japan." In it, Kate Kelsall interviews Hiroyoshi's apprentice and assistant Alex Reinke, aka Horikitsune, of Holy FoxTattoos in Germany. Alex is renowned for his own masterful interpretation of Irezumi. He offers his thoughts on Japanese tattooing:

The mystery involved in a Japanese tattoo is beyond Western comprehension as all the designs have deep philosophical meaning. They are heavy with messages of great virtue and portraits of the human condition, so important to the Japanese - to wear a Horimono or Irezumi [that's a full body suit tattoo to you and I] shows character, personality and perseverance and the tattoo master is purveyor of all these things. [...] Basically everyone carries the same designs like koi (carp), dragons, heroes and tenyo (she-angels) but the tattoo artist adapts the story for each individual, changing clothes, expressions and shades to fit that person.
Hit up Don't Panic for more discussion on the art.

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