Paul Binnie, Hiroshige no Edo, A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo


Artist: Paul Binnie (1967-)
Title: Hiroshige no Edo
Edition: 55/100
Series: Edo Zumi Hyaku Shoku (A Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo)
Published: by the artist
Date: 2015
Size: 42.3 x 31 cm

Original woodblock print.

The tattoo on the woman’s back derives from two separate Hiroshige prints, Ohashi Atake no Yudachi (Sudden Shower over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake) and Fukagawa Susaki Jumantsubo (Jumantsubo Plain at Fukagawa Susaki). An admixture of the red-pink of the woman’s cloth has been added to the background printing to suggest heavy rain like the Ohashi print. The design on the woman’s sheer cloth comes from a third print in the series, Kameido Umeyashiki (The Plum Garden at Kameido). Binnie’s print is part of a long tradition of Western artists appropriating Japanese print motifs into their art, a practice that has been going from almost the moment that Japan was opened up to the West. The falcon (taka) presents a beautiful image for both woodblock artist and tattooist. A regal bird with iconic status, the falcon symbolizes endeavour and success, as well as power and courage.

Paul Binnie

Blending traditional methods with a modern style, Paul Binnie is working mostly under the influence of Shin-hanga movement, founded by the publisher Shozaburo Watanabe (1885-1962). Shozaburo was aiming 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, Paul makes his own prints from beginning to the end by himself, as was done by artists of another post-war movement: Sosaku hanga.

He mostly works in several subjects such as kabuki, tattoo, landscape and beauty prints. His original plan had been to stay in Japan less than he actually did but once he started to sell his kabuki prints, he decided to expand his technique more and has created works of this subject until 1998 in Japan. 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). He is still working on a series of woodblock prints of this theme. Near the end of 1997, he began to do Japanese landscape prints and these became a huge success.

More Information
Print FormatDai-Oban
ArtistPaul Binnie
SubjectBeauty & Female, Tattoo Design, Contemporary
Dimensions42.3 x 31 cm
Condition ReportExcellent.