While at the Asian Art Museum with my drawing students recently, I found myself enjoying an activity designed to help visitors better appreciate the huge influence of Japanese ukiyo-e prints on European artists beginning in the 19th century. I went in a little skeptical of the “Looking East” exhibition’s potential for the usual fetishization of Asian cultures, but came out of it pleasantly surprised.
I’ve loved Hiroshige’s prints for years, but had never attempted to copy them to understand them better. Sketching this out at one of the activity stations at the museum was unexpectedly fun and genuinely educational.
As I wandered through the exhibition, I found myself attracted to its numerous depictions of aquatic life. This is unsurprising, given that the public art project I’m currently at work on involves sea creatures. This project, sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Commission, is intended to remind people of the consequences of dumping contaminants into storm drains that pollute the bay. Here, some teasers for 3 of the 6 pieces in progress: a leopard shark, some bat rays, and some rockfish, all protecting the storm drains.
My illustrations will be output onto mural textile, and adhered to certain sidewalks in the Mission Bay area of SF. Each mural will be around 4 x 5 feet. As the full designs are currently in revision to adapt to some quirks of the sites where they’ll be installed, I can’t post them in their entirety yet.