GRAFFITI JAPAN is another fine book on contemporary art and design from Mark Batty Publisher. As with all of their books this volume addresses art in a specific place and assures the reader/viewer that the cultural background of that location is woven throughout this richly illustrated volume to add to the pleasure of encountering fresh art forms as a meaningful experience.
Remo Camerota, an artist and photographer, traveled to Japan, not knowing the language but with a desire to study and understand what makes Japanese graffiti unique. In a vivid introduction he paints the scene for his visit and after his preface he turns to one of the graffiti artists (KRESS) to open the path for examining Japanese graffiti. Fifteen graffiti artists are presented in full-color reproductions of their art and the variations among these artists' works are gradually identifiable through the superb photographs, most of them by the author and investigator Camerota. As each artist is reviewed a conversation with Camerota is presented and this writing is both sensitive and humorous, and always shaped by the honest convictions of each artist's intent. The book then approaches the graffiti as it differs among four cities - Hiroshima, Osaka, Kanagawa and Tokyo.
That is the background description for this book. But the importance of the volume lies in the fully saturated illustrations and design that allows the viewer to appreciate graffiti in a completely new light. The quality of art from these street artists is pristine in execution, highly innovative in design (there is a major influence of one of Japan's own contributions to the art world - anime), and in many ways competes with the huge murals that have long been a part of our universal artistic heritage. Japanese graffiti artists may have 'borrowed' the concept of graffiti art from the USA, but the works represented in his magnificently illustrated volume are uniquely their own. This is a beautiful book that not only dazzles with color and design, but also makes for a terrific nidus for roundtable discussion on the role of graffiti as an art form. This book IS art! Highly recommended for students and art collectors alike. Grady Harp, September 08
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Grady Harp (gradyharp)
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Japan has always been a breeding ground for innovative approaches to Western traditions, such as cinema and baseball. Another example includes graffiti, which covers the buildings and walls of Japans largest cities, as well as the more rural areas. While graffiti in Japan shares many of the same characteristics with examples from other parts of the world, distinct cultural aspects of Japan, from Kanji to popular anime characters, set Japanese graffiti apart. Tokyo-based photographer Remo Camerota has captured these culturally unique aspects of Japanese graffiti, and in doing so has befriended some of the countrys major graffiti artists. Colorful spreads and intimate interviews provide a detailed examination of Japanese graffiti, a subject that has yet to dominate the graffiti book market.