Paul Binnie, Sharaku Design, Japanese Tattoo

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Original Japanese woodblock print. 

japanese woodblock print, contemporary art, japanese tattoo, irezumi, tattoo design, paul binnie
japanese woodblock print, contemporary art, japanese tattoo, irezumi, tattoo design, paul binnie japanese woodblock print, contemporary art, japanese tattoo, irezumi, tattoo design, paul binnie

Artist: Paul Binnie (1967 – )
Title: Sharaku no giga (Sharaku’s Caricature)
Series: Edo Zumi Hyaku Shoku (A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo)
Date: 2011
Edition: 32/100
Published: by the artist
Dimensions: 43.3 × 31.1 cm

 

The print by Sharaku of Otani Oniji which forms the main tattoo design is one of the best-known prints of the enigmatic Sharaku, who only produced prints for a short time in 1794-5, but who has left us around 140 designs from that brief period. The unusual position of the hands in this print were the key to the dramatic, dynamic pose of the model, for though they represent the frozen action of the Kabuki stage, it could be the model is reacting to a loud noise or shock, and he is instinctively moving to protect himself. The similarity in the position of the hands of the tattoo and the live man is vital to this design. The small cartouche shows Ichikawa Ebizo, maybe one of the most striking faces in this group, and one which well deserves to be used as a caricature, and the seal here is Paul’s own self-caricature, made up of the letters of his name.

Paul Binnie


Blending traditional methods with a modern style, Paul Binnie’s work is heavily influenced by the Shin-hanga movement, founded by the publisher Shozaburo Watanabe (1885-1962). Shozaburo aimed to renew declining Ukiyo-e tradition and break into foreign markets by commissioning new, young artists who would work within the old co-operated system, composed of the publisher, artist, engraver and printers. However, Binnie works independently, making prints from beginning to the end, as was done by artists of the post-war Sosaku hanga movement. He works across several different subjects including kabuki, tattoo, landscape and beauty prints. Binnie’s original plan of a short stay in Japan changed once he started to sell his kabuki prints. He decided to expand his technique and remained in Japan creating works of this subject until 1998. His interest in Japanese tattoo was born when he saw Yakuza, members of the Japanese mafia who traditionally have body tattoos, bathing for the first time in a sento (Japanese-style public bath). Near the end of 1997, he began to expand into Japanese landscape prints, which became a huge success.

More Information
Print FormatDai-Oban
ArtistPaul Binnie
SubjectSamurai & Male, Tattoo Design, Contemporary
Dimensions43.3 × 31.1 cm
SeriesA Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo