Hiroshi Hirakawa, 平川家の墓とゆかいな仲間たち 生と死と愛と戯画 (Shrine)
When an artist as prodigiously talented as Chris Conn Askew* tells me that I’ve got to check out an artist, I don’t hesitate … especially when he tells me, “he’s been on fire lately!” I couldn’t agree more. Hiroshi Hirakawa has that rare and delicious combination of ferocious talent, tempered by a deep appreciation of historical techniques and precedent. Ukiyo-e or “pictures of the floating world” is a traditional form of Japanese painting and printmaking whose subject matter reflects a deep appreciation of earthly beauty, coupled with an acknowledgment of it’s transience. Hirakawa’s paintings, with their frequent allusions to mortality seem to fit into this genre – or at least to represent a vividly contemporary re-imagining of it. In addition to his epic allegorical works, there is also enough cephalopod love, tattooed odalisques, oblique geishas, and dissolute rapture to enchant and mystify even the most discerning viewer. As far as I can tell, the man behind the images is utterly mysterious, although his website provides a tiny peephole into his world. Luckily for all of you, there is a new print edition by Tattoo Elite International of his ravishing piece, Shrine, now available.
*Be sure to check out our upcoming feature on Chris Conn Askew in Coilhouse #5!
Hiroshi Hirakawa, Ingres
Hiroshi Hirakawa, Namban and Black Panther
Hiroshi Hirakawa, 艶色海岩性交図