I asked Takahiro (Taki) about his experience curating "Perseverance" and his goals for the show. Here's what he said:
This is my first time curating an exhibit at a national museum, and with all the talented artists around, the selection of artists was very difficult. I had decided that I wanted to focus more on younger artists, even some that people may not be as familiar with, in order to show what the current generation is doing and how Japanese tattooing has both evolved and stayed the same. I am excited to show such a variety of regional styles from Yokohama to Tokyo to Osaka (of course!) to LA! There are magical things happening in the world of tattoo and I hope to exhibit some of the best modern Japanese tattoo work. Thankfully, Kip Fulbeck, the exhibition designer, has had amazing ideas on presentation - what would an art exhibit be without great presentation?
We have also put a lot of energy into insuring that people who are interested can learn something about Japanese tattooing, especially in the catalog (200 pages, full color) we have put together for the show. The show covers a lot of ground and involves a lot of people. I was honored that graffiti legend Chaz Bojorquez wrote out the "Perseverance" lettering and will also speak at the opening. It is also amazing to have a talk and personal historical account from Japanese tattoo legend Junii Salmon. I am also very proud to present Chris "Horishiki" Brand's 108 Heroes of Los Angeles, a modern take on the warriors of the Suikoden. And we have a great "kite" project, but I want to wait and let people see that for themselves!
I want people who have not been exposed to Japanese tattoos to be see the sublime artistry involved in contemporary Japanese tattooing. Following the visual impact, I hope people can see that the Japanese tattoo is far more than an art form, but a cultural vehicle...one that represents the folklore, history and culture of Japan. We are most proud of the photographs (some of which are life size!) and hope people can appreciate and understand the time and dedication on the part of the tattoo artists and their clients.