In conjunction with the Japan Society’s spring exhibition Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters: Japanese Prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi from the Arthur R. Miller Collection, the Japan Society (NYC) has named visual artist and professional illustrator Hiroki Otsuka as its official mangaka. As an artist-in-residence, Otsuka will create an original manga inspired by the work of Kuniyoshi. He will also be conducting illustration workshops open to the general public.
Here is the official word from the Japan Society:
"Kuniyoshi's love of complex narrative, his busy, frenetic style, his powerful characterization, his inventive use of space, and his mass-market appeal all mark him as a grandfather of contemporary manga," says Joe Earle, Director of Japan Society Gallery and organizer of Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters. "We are underlining the parallels between Kuniyoshi’s work and contemporary manga by asking Hiroki Otsuka—an outstanding manga artist living in New York—to serve as our mangaka-in-residence, inspiring visitors by creating his own meta-narrative about Kuniyoshi and his work."
Looks like a good Spring to visit New York.
About Hiroki Otsuka
A professional comic book illustrator since 1994, Brooklyn based Japanese artist/illustrator honed his craft drafting and inking comic book cells for a variety of projects, and illustrated for a number of major Japanese publications through 2004. "I grew up reading manga like all youngsters in Japan, although I was completely obsessed with submerging myself in their realm of imagination," says Otsuka. "Since then, I have devoted a great deal of time studying manga. Through drawing manga, I like to open doors for readers to share my imaginative world. I use personal experiences, or experiences and stories from my friends to inspire my work. I create drawings, paintings, and manga whose underlying themes are entertaining and convey something of the essence of living freely, easily and vividly."
Discussing his process, Otsuka says, "I always begin by drawing the pictures on a sketchbook just using a black pen, which is a basic manga technique. As simple as this sounds, so much information can be conveyed with just one line. The spontaneity of lines is my identity. It shows how I have been inspired and mirrors my state of mind and energy flow. Lines are the most significant aspect of my works, even more important than what I draw."