Japanese Woodprinting Returns With Help From Video Game Pop Culture

Ukiyoeheroes-large

Ukiyo-e (pronounced ‘ooh-kee-yoh-eh’) is an old Japanese form of relief printing where multiple carved wooden blocks are used to create beautiful illustrations depicting various characters and events throughout Japanese history and folklore. As attractive as this artistic form of printing is, to actually be able to create it is a skill tempered with delicate finesse and finely tuned precision. As a result, it’s popularity has declined steadily through the decades due largely in part to the major advances in printing technology being able to produce faster and more precise pieces when the need arises. Jed Henry, a 29-year-old illustrator hailing from Utah aims to bring this crafty style back into the limelight by combining his illustrative talents along with his passion for video games and japanese culture to create the Ukiyo-E Heroes project. Originally wanting to create the prints himself, Henry instead sought out the 30 year experience of seasoned ukiyo-e master David Bull to create the product you see above. Mario, Link, Samus, the cast of Street Fighter, all these iconic characters and more from the nostalgic era of video games are represented in this wonderful series, and found here is an excellent article about the meeting of these two artists as well as a video showing the masterful David Bull (he works and speaks with a hypnotizing cadence not unlike the great Bob Ross) at work on one of the designs in the Ukiyo-E Heroes collection.

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Category: Printing