Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Buildings of Japanese Architect Tadao Ando

Our “Visual Culture of Japan Series” continues with this post on famed Osaka-based Japanese architect Tadao Ando and some images of his buildings, including the the “4×4 Houses,” “Church of Light” and Awaji Yumebatai in Japan. Ando is one of the world’s leading architects. His Osaka firm has designed buildings through Japan and around the globe. Among his recent landmark building is the 21_21 Design Site in Tokyo.

Related to Japanese Architecture: Shigeru Ban’s Nomadic Museum

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4×4 Houses photo and copyright: Hiromitsu Morimoto / HET Gallery

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“Church of Light” photo and copyright Buou / Chris He

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Awaji Yumebatai photo and copyright kwc

“A” is for Araki

Here’s the first post of our “Visual Culture of Japan” series, which we were inspired to launch given the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster.

We start with the first letter of the alpabet: “A” is for Araki as in family name of the Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki whose work inspires, intrigues and provokes us. Araki is well-known for his explicit sexual subject matter and erotic images, but its his street photography, unguarded portraits (see below) and urban landscape images which resonate with us most.

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Visual Culture of Japan

The incredible, terrible destruction stemming from the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, and the subsequent tsunami and nuclear-reactor disasters, has focused much of the our attention on a nation that is arguably one of the most globally influential and sophisticated when it comes to aesthetics and creative culture.

We are devoting many blog posts on Global Graphica for the next week or so to the visual culture of Japan. We’ll be posting about street art, design, photography, video, creators — in short, all facets of the country’s rich visual culture and creative output.

Below is one of the many famous and iconic Hokusai wood-block print images of symbolic Mount Fuji near Tokyo, Japan.

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1,000 Origami Cranes for Japan

Lots of origami cranes ( tsuru in Japanese ) on display in the Los Angeles offices of a major global advertising agency. The staff at the agency are raising awareness and funds toward helping victims of earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan by making 1,000 of the birds in the Japanese traditional art of paper-folding.

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Ace Hotel Sign

The beautifully-decayed “ACE”  signs at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, California, in the near desert east of Los Angeles.

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Rick Owens’ Dope Sneakers

Paris-based American fashion designer Rick Owens was wearing the dopest sneakers when we took the runway after the showing of his 2011 collection at his Paris fashion-week show.

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Look At Me

“Look at Me” sticker on a “Chute Cellar” cover at base of a tenement building on Ludlow Street, in the LES (Lower East Side) of downtown New York City.

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Manhattan View

Midtown Manhattan skyline racing by in the distance as seen from a car on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway ( BQE ). It was early evening and we were in a car taking us out to John F. Kennedy International Airport ( JFK ) to catch another flight out to Los Angeles. We couldn’t resist snapping a few pix of home in the twilight.

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Feather Foot Tattoo

The lovely A. was gracious enough to show us the awesome feather tattoo on her foot and pose for our camera. We noticed her tat while sipping coffee at one of our favorite cafes in downtown New York City. The composition of the tattoo artwork is aligned with the shape of the foot and compliments the form.  Like it.  Thank you for sharing, A.!

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Hillcrest Sign

The Hillcrest sign in the heart of the neighborhood of the same name in San Diego. The nabe is the city’s gay-hipster heartland and filled with great restaurants, shops and cafes.

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Lady Gaga on Cover of Vogue

This is a nice serendipitous diptych-like placement of two copies of Vogue magazine we spotted at the Terminal 5 newsstand at LAX airport. The current issue of American Vogue features pop-singing superstar Lady Gaga on the cover. The image was shot by legendary fashion photographer Mario Testino. Love it.

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Darth Vader Stencil

Stumbled upon (literally) this stencil street art of Darth Vader, the iconic villain of the George Lucas Star Wars films, at an inclined sidewalk corner in Pacific Beach, in San Diego.

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