The entrance to Fushimi Inari Shrine, traditionally a place to pray for good luck and prosperity.
The sign reads Ishida. I love the typography on this- hand-painted, faded, but still very bold and readable.
The walk up to Fushimi Shrine.
Taiyaki stand. I’m not sure why, but the way the blue tarp sat underneath the fish banner, it made me think of water, or piled ice.
Old and new Kyoto advertising together. Teramachi Street.
One of my favorite shots of the whole trip, taken around Sanjo. The sign reads (or rather used to read) Kiyota, but one of the letters has long since fallen off.
A series of images taken at Mt Fuji, Japan, January 2014. All of them have been edited with Vscocam on an iPhone. Standing underneath such a massive and lonely mountain, I understand now why so many artists dedicate their lives to painting and describing it. Each time I looked at it, Fuji seemed different. The colors, the cloud cover, the shadows, all seemed to shift every few minutes.
I was a Computer Arts subscriber for 2 years. I learned all sorts of things, from how to set up an augmented reality webapp, to creating efficient patterns in Illustrator. The new talent and agency features were also great, as I could see what others in the industry were working on.
I decided, though, to cancel my membership. The magazine had a serious lack of diversity in its pages. There were hardly ever any designers from South America, Asia, Africa, or ‘other’ design communities. The same few people were featured constantly, month after month, and I just got tired of seeing nothing but white European faces.
The design world is bigger than that. I wanted to also read about agencies in Lagos and Accra, translated interviews with Colombian designers, and tutorials from Indian typographers. I wanted to learn, not only about what has been in the design news, but what others were doing around the globe. That wasn’t in the pages of Computer Arts, so I cancelled my subscription.
I thought it would be interesting to document for everyone the fascinating symbols and tombs in Saint Louis Cemetery 1, New Orleans. What I saw there was really amazing, visually and historically.
Marie Laveau lived from 1794 to 1181 in new Orleans. She was a very powerful figure, and led a following of tens of thousands. She and her family are buried in this family grave. A false rumor persists that by drawing three “x”s (XXX) on the side of her grave, she will grant you your wish.
Our tour guide said the only proper way to pray to her is to make a wish, and if she grants it, to return and leave a small offering. The “x”s are simply vandalism, and need to be continually removed.
This “society” tomb is noteworthy for a few reasons. It contains the bodies of a number of soldiers that fought against the British in 1815. The symbols on the tomb all have very specific meanings. Here is a closeup.
– the hourglass at the top: The impermanence of time
– the wreath: victory or immortality
– the cannon balls: their roles as artillerymen
– the upside down torches: the extinction of life
Perpetual Care markers are put on graves entrusted to the care fo the Catholic Church for upkeep and maintenance. Because of the costs involved, many of them are simply restored with concrete and latex paint. Restoration means making a new tomb in the same shape as the old one, but with modern materials. They don’t work well in the humid environment and soon decay. Preservation, on the other hand, means taking care of the original, and fixing it with original materials and techniques.
Note the difference between the restored step tomb on the bottom left, and the original step tomb to the right.
The marks of the Freemasons and the Shriners feature prominently here.
Many tomb covers are made of marble, which is extremely susceptible to the hot, humid climate, and soon warps and crumbles. Note the curved marble piece on the second one from the left.
In 1892, Homer Plessy and a Citizens Committee challenged the racist “Separate but Equal” doctrine. It was part of a highly coordinated attempt to have state-sponsored segregation ruled unconstitutional. Although the case reached the US Supreme Court, they did not succeed. It was not until 1954, in the Brown v. Board of Education that the law was struck down.
These striking silkscreen, lithograph, and woodcut Work Projects Administration (WPA) posters were designed to publicize health and safety programs; cultural programs including art exhibitions, theatrical, and musical performances; travel and tourism; educational programs; and community activities in seventeen states and the District of Columbia. The posters were made possible by one of the first U.S. Government programs to support the arts and were added to the Library’s holdings in the 1940s.
When I was in 13, in 8th grade, I was painfully shy. Being in a new school, with foreigners, was almost more than I could deal with. Foreigners, you say? Yeah. A Nigerian kid in America sees his classmates as foreigners, no matter how “perfect” his accent is.
I hardly talked to anyone. The jokes were foreign. The bee bus and butt head? Was that a TV show? The whole year was cringeworthy to think about now, but back then, it was excruciating. I took the bus home every day and plopped myself in from of the TV, sitting there for hours. There’s no end to the things you learn about a society by watching the TV they make.
The basketball coach tried to get me out of my shell. The 8th grade boys were having a basketball shoot out, and I was to participate, he said. It was one of those winner gets a t-shirt deals. I said no. Not only did I suck at basketball, but the girls would be watching, and I didn’t want to humiliate myself.
The coach told me that if I kept running away, I would never be able to stand up to anything, and that win or lose, I owed it to myself to try. I got arm-twisted into playing.
I was the last to get the basketball that day. I took as many shots as I could in a minute, bricking most of them really badly, air balling a few, and getting a grand total of 3 points, all of them off panicked free throws. I could hear my classmates behind the 3-point line, quietly laughing at me. That’s not a criticism. I quietly laughed at people all the time, and I still do.
It may be true that forcing me onto the court put a bit of steel in my spine. My self-esteem was pretty well destroyed after that, though, and it took a while to build back up. I’m still not sure what coach thought would happen. Being extroverted doesn’t come easy to everyone. When we force introvert kids to ‘interact’ with people, it doesn’t always make them into social butterflies, and can often be anguishing. Remember that the next time you tell someone that success is mostly just showing up.
I just found this painting, called Space Vikings, while wandering around on the internet. It’s by Melvyn Grant, a British sci-fi and fantasy artist. Something about the spacesuits caught my eye. So many of the suits we see on TV and in the movies are bland uniforms, but these look very personalized, almost like regular clothes. I imagine that in the deep future, spacesuits will have little resemblance to what we know today, and the painting is striking for that reason.
I bought a book of Matsumi Kanemitsu lithographs years ago, in college. It was a retrospective of his prints from 1960-1990. Im not sure what it was about his work that I found fascinating- perhaps the way he used litho washes, or the sly humor in the illustrations. In any case, I periodically look at the book again for inspiration. Here is a video on his life and work that you may enjoy.
(Image courtesty of Art Is America)