Tag Archives: manga

CULT OF KAWAII: WHEN STREET ART “GETS CUTE” WE ALL SUFFER

 

Look, savvy reader! Look at the photo above!

See that tiny wheat-pasted street artwork of a poodle-like canine waltzing down the pavement seeming to give zero fucks but in a totally oblivious, entitled way?

Ahhhhh …. cuuuuuuuuute, right?!?!? 

Look again, look carefully. Is that a dollop of poop nonchalantly emanating from the butt of this kawaii canine? It is! It must be! Wow, this cartoon pup really does give zero fucks.

Ahhhhh …. cuuuuuuuuute, right?

Well, we’re not buying it. This is just a little too cute (or as Japanese high-school girls love to squeal: Kawaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii”). And frankly this is even a little too cute for the Los Angeles Arts District where this pic was snapped.

Sure, the poop is a touch of insouciance and whimsy we can appreciate here at Global Graphica. Clearly this artwork was something not executed without thought. (Notice how that dollop of poop has its own shadow!!!!)

And we like how the artwork was posted at the eye level of a small rodent. (The artwork actually is the size of a small rodent — less than a foot long. It shows that the artist is, as corporate HR specialists like to say, “detail oriented.”

That aside, this kind of cuteness is too easy and a kind of artistic crutch. We want our street art to be bolder, grittier, heavier, more epic, aesthetically nuanced and more serious about message.

What is this artwork trying to say? Pick up your dog’s shit? That everybody has to poop, even the most beautiful and haughty little bitches? (For the record, the word “bitches” is used here in the scientific sense to mean “gender-female dog,” and not used in the often misogynistic hip-hop sense).

With this kind of cute, we suffer. You, us, everybody — even the artist — suffers. Yes, the struggle is real.

 

“Going Everywhere Fast” by D*Face

The British artist Dean Stockton, a.k.a., D*Face, has developed one of the most recognizable and epic bodies of street art to grace the world’s urban landscapes. His work evolved from the a series of noteook doodles of weird, comic, anthropomorphic humaoid creatures. Then he started making stickers of this artwork, eventually moving on to the more familiar and popular street art medium of wheatpaste posters and, later, paintings, massive murals and sculptural objects. A prime example of one of these larger-than-life murals is the one pictured here in Culver City, in Los Angeles. It’s titled “Going Everywhere Fast” and can be found on the side of the Corey Helford Gallery on Washington Blvd.

DFace’s work reminds us a lot of the post-modern pop art of Roy Lichtenstein. The parallels in the graphical, comic style are unmissable. Where Lichtenstein found inspiration and material from the inky, pixel-dotted soap-opera comics of American newspapers of the 1950s and ’60s, Stockton’s style has the smoother look of the contemporary graphic novel and its richly-printed rendering of scanned drawings. Lichtenstein often made the texts of the comics a crticial part of the artwork. He included the characters’ short dialogues and internal monolgues that appeared as speech and thought bubbles in the comic. This added a dimension of irony, drama, commentary or amusement (sometime all at once) and gave deeper meaning to the visual. D*Face’s works, on the other hand, usually don’t have speech or thought bubbles. It is left to the viewer to imagine what the chacacters are thinking.

Some visual themes have emerged in DFace’s style. A lot of these recent murals features a man and a women, a couple with their relationship implied but unclear. There are cars or motrocycles included. Motion and speed are suggested in the compositions. The woman is a pale blond bombshell. A sad or worried expression is on her face. She displays freakish antler-like white wings sticking out from the sides of her head, which refers back to the charcaters of D*Face’s earliest drawings. The man is shown as slightly grotesque, his skin green like a Frankenstein and his face serious and etched with hard wrinkles.

The popular appeal of DFace’s artwork is obvious. It is an easy visual read, accessible and poignant. He has benefited from having his work exposed to an audience beyond the galleries and streets, beyond followers of contemporary art or street art scenes. Fans of American pop-punk band Blink-182 will recognize D*Face’s artwork on the cover of their recent 2016 album “California.” 

Street Art as Office Decor

We recently went to a series of meetings at a creative agency in Southern California. The walls of the conference room where the meetings were held were covered in wheat-paste street art. Most of the artwork was boldly illustrated black-and-white poster cut-outs of hand-drawn graphics in a comic style. Our favorite was a large graphic of a masked Mexican “lucha libre”-style wrestler. The artwork gave the conference room a lot of energy and a sense of fun, while showcasing the tastes of the company’s creative team. 

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この会議室は、カリフォルニアの広告代理店にあります。 会議室はストリートアートで装飾されています。

Fresh Street Art by Con Artist Collective

This boldly graphic wheat-paste street art poster by Con Artist Collective just went up on a building hoarding at the corner of Broome and Allen streets, in the art-fashion part of the Lower East Side, in New York. The artwork was inspired by the classic Japanese sci-fi comic “Akira,” and is a mash-up of Japanese manga imagery, as well as a layer of stylized Japanese-like kanji typography.

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In Tokyo … “Re Your Food” Anti-Nukes Street Art

Since the the 2011 reactor-meltdown disaster at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan, we’ve seen a lot of anti-nuke street art pop up in Tokyo, especially around Shibuya and Naka-Meguro. Often the artwork is in the form of a large sticker that features the line-drawing image of a little girl and the international nuclear symbol.

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