Paul Binnie, Kuniyoshi's Cats, One Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo, Tattoo Design
Artist: Paul Binnie (1967-)
Title: Kuniyoshi's Cats
Series: One Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo
Size: 43 × 29 cm
Original Japanese woodblock print.
Kuniyoshi was well-known in the Edo period for his love of cats, and they appear in all sorts of prints by him, from bijin-ga to shunga, and in this print the tattoos as well as the title cartouche derive from his c. 1848 series 'Cats Representing the 53 Stations of the Tokaido'.
The seal in this print is a cartoon cat design made up of the letters of Paul Binnie's name, a conceit which he decided to continue throughout the series, contorting the Roman letters of 'Paul Binnie' into images which refer to the subject.
Throughout the series, the designs break out of the frames into the margins, and are placed against shaded sumi backgrounds printed in baren-sujizuri, or swirling texture printing, while the title and signature are printed in bronze metallic pigment. In 'Kuniyoshi's Cats' the fur of the real cat is embossed (blind-printed).
|Artist Name||Paul Binnie|
|Title||Kuniyoshi's Cats 28/100|
|Subject||Tattoo Design, Contemporary|
|Dimensions||43 × 29 cm|
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.