Irezumi in words and image.Not tiring of defeat leads to victory
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After a couple of weeks on the road together with my love and partner in art, Anna, I am now back in Umeå, Sweden. Paris and Leeds were void of snow but here it still remain in stubborn piles, as if wanting to mock spring for yet another couple of weeks. I thought I would get used to this way of things but I guess I am simply not a winter persona and I long for the singing of birds and the green greeting me in the morning. Nevertheless, being at home has rarely seemed so treasurable as these days, and I am dearly looking forward to working at our home base Vackra Ting in a more focused manner than before. Perhaps spring will arrive quicker if I tease it with new creative dances.
After a long time of contemplating wether I should tamper with my original version of these prints, I ultimately could not resist giving it a try. I am so very happy I did. Going back into an art work and apply the time that has passed between now and then is perhaps one of the most rewarding pursuits, only matched by the rush of a great new idea that needs to be created. Not all of my works are up for new and improved editions, but besides these two portraits of mythological Japanese women, I am sure more will follow.
My works are usually sold through Kintaro Publishing, a symbeosis I am very happy with, but I also wanted to create something more special again. So the idea of printing myself, on my favourite paper, controlling every step of the process, became more and more attractive.
Each print is limited to 50 copies only, printed on heavy Hahnemuehle museum etching paper with a beautiful texture and feel to it. I even print my photographs on this paper. Very watercolouresque in its spirit. The prints are signed, stamped and numbered by me and only available from me personally. If interested in finding out more about these prints please visit the Senju Horimatsu Shop.
The Japanese dragon is probably the most common character design in Irezumi. Over the years I created quite a few, and even if one might think the repetetive task to be dull or even a boring one, there is always a new dragon coming out of the clouds of my mind. The Japanese dragon is slipperier than a wet soap and it takes concentration and as well as a humble mindset to even come close to something remotely strong and spiritual.
Two days ago I had the pleasure of completing a full back Irezumi tattoo depicting the hero Ryutaro in an adaption of a very classic Irezumi design. In this scene Ryutaro is using a polished bronze mirror in order to expose a witch’s true shape. The face reflected betrays her skillfully projected illusion of a Ryu (dragon), and leaves her subsequently stripped of her magical powers. I must admit that I am re-telling this tidbit of a story straight from memory, as I this is what I can recall from a text I read a long time ago. As I was preparing to write this text, I went through my entire book collection but couldn’t find any reference on which I could rely. If I am telling it somewhat wrong, I do apologize for this.
During the last few hours of coloring the lower right thigh, I often paused and let my eyes wander up along the full piece. When skin is densely decorated in the traditional Japanese fashion, it assumes the shape and quality of embroidered brocade fabric. The velvety black and greys dancing around the warm colors, gently whispering to the image “appear”. Then the realization that I am in part responsible for this transformation of the mundane into the fantastic. The feeling is like butterflywings flapping against my fingertips. Barely there but so very precious.