Hiroshi Hirakawa’s Floating Worlds

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

3 Responses to “Hiroshi Hirakawa’s Floating Worlds”

  1. cappy Says:

    That last one seems familiar…

  2. Celine Says:

    *clutches hair and pees a little*

    My thesis this past year was based on taking works of western art and reinterpreting them through my own flattened, heavily inspired by japonisme style. So things like this really turn me on—I have maybe a ten foot high boner for art history and seeing modern artists play with these kinds of allusions always presses the fun button.

  3. belen Says:

    @celine check out gajin fujita’s work and get ready to clutch your snatch