Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World

Past Exhibition

Perseverance

Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World

Horitaka (Takahiro Kitamura)

Horitaka (Takahiro Kitamura)

Exhibition Curator
Horitaka is a tattoo artist as well as the author and publisher of numerous books on tattoo art and culture. His books include Bushido: Legacies of the Japanese Tattoo (Schiffer Publishing, 2001), Tattooing From Japan to the West (Schiffer Publishing, 2004), and Tattoos of the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Motifs in Japanese Tattoo (KIT Publishers, 2003). Horitaka is renowned for his advocacy of Japanese tattooing as an art form and has worked as a visiting artist across the United States and Europe. He has lectured at he Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, U.C. Santa Barbara, and at conferences in Italy and Hawai‘i, is the co-founder and co-director of the annual Bay Area Convention of the Tattoo Arts, and the owner of State of Grace tattoo shop in San Jose, CA. Horitaka’s graphic designs have been used by Nike SB, Bacardi, and many other companies.

Read an interview with Takahiro Kitamura on our Discover Nikkei site.  Read Now

 

Horishiki (Chris Brand)

Horishiki (Chris Brand)

Horishiki works in Southern California and is one of the world’s leading tattoo artists. He has worked with tattoo legend Jack Rudy at the famed Good Time Charlie’s Tattooland in Anaheim for over a decade. Horishiki is the co-author of The Ulysses Guide to the Los Angeles River (GK Editions, 2008), which had an accompanying exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. His work is included in the “LA Liber Amicorum” blackbook project at the Getty Research Institute, and he has done graphic design for various companies as well as illustrations for books and magazines. As a pioneer in new fusion styles, Horishiki brings a unique perspective to Japaense tattooing and showcases some of the most original concept of Chicano/Latino interpretations of traditional Japanese fables. He received the title Horishiki from Horitomo in 2013.

 

Horitomo (Kazuaki Kitamura)

Horitomo (Kazuaki Kitamura)

Horitomo rose to the forefront of pioneering Japanese tattoo artists in the 1990s by challenging traditions and bringing his own version of the Western style to Japan. In a marked shift, he undertook a Japanese apprenticeship, was re-titled as Horitomo, and devoted his life to the study of traditional Japanese tattooing. In addition to his extensive knowledge of Japanese culture and tradition, Horitomo is also highly experienced in tebori (hand tattooing), the traditional method of Japanese tattooing which predates the electric tattoo machine. He has published two volumes of his artwork: Immovable: Fudo Myo-o Tattoo Design by Horitomo (State of Grace, 2011) and Monmon Cats (State of Grace, 2013). His graphic designs have also been used for numerous companies, including four video games for Sega Game Systems.

 

Miyazo (Masao Miyazaki)

Miyazo (Masao Miyazaki)

Miyazo is widely considered one of Japan’s premiere traditional tattoo artists. Based in Osaka, a city well known in the world of Japanese tattooing, he is the only heir to the famed Horitsune lineage. Miyazo exemplifies the regional notoriety of tattooing and at a young age is considered by many worldwide to be a master tattoo artist. He often exhibits at international conventions and is well known and respected in tattoo circles, but his core clientele are Osaka tattoo enthusiasts.

 

Shige (Shigenori Iwasaki)

Shige (Shigenori Iwasaki)

Based in Yokohama, Shige embodies the synthesis of traditional Japanese tattoo with contemporary, modern stylistics. Shige is nothing short of a global phenomenon. His tattoo work and paintings have been praised worldwide, and his work has been featured in magazines, conventions, museums, and galleries. In 2010, Shige was part of the groundbreaking “Basara” show organized by renowned artist Tenmyouya Hisashi. Held in an art gallery in the busy Aoyama District in Tokyo, “Basara” was the first event of its kind. Shige represented Japanese tattooing by speaking and showing ten of his body suits in person—a very rare sight in Japan. A monograph of his work entitled Shige (State of Grace, 2009) has sold over 5,000 copies to date. Shige is not only an award-winning tattoo artist, but also an ambassador of Japanese art. He owns and operates Yellow Blaze Tattoo with his wife Chisato.

 

Junii (Junko Shimada)

Junii (Junko Shimada)

Originally from Japan, Junii is a pioneer in Japanese tattooing. She began getting a traditional Japanese bodysuit in the late 1970s, something that is still rare for a woman in Japan today. In 1987, she attended an American tattoo convention to display her tattoos and met tattooer Bill Salmon. They fell in love and she moved to the United States. She now tattoos with Bill at Diamond Club Tattoo in San Francisco, CA and has lectured at museums and conventions throughout the nation. Junii possesses unparalleled inside knowledge of both the Japanese and American tattoo worlds and is widely recognized as the most important woman in Japanese tattooing.

 

Yokohama Horiken (Kenji Hori)

Yokohama Horiken (Kenji Hori)

Originally from Yokohama, Horiken is a renowned tebori (hand tattooing) specialist, one of only a few residing in the United States. A graduate of Tama Art University, he is a self-taught tattoo artist whose constant efforts to refine and improve his tattoo skills helped him receive an artist of extraordinary talent visa from the U.S. State Department. Horiken’s work has been shown internationally and he has been featured in numerous managazines. In 2012, he served as a visiting artist at U.C. Santa Barbara, where he lectured on traditional Japanese tattooing. He currently tattoos at State of Grace Tattoo in San Jose, CA.

 

ADDITIONAL ARTISTS

Don Ed Hardy • Colin Horisou Baker • Stan Corona • Espi • Drew Flores • Chris Garver • Jeff Gogue • Regino Gonzales • Jill Horiyuki Halpin • Tim Hendricks • Horikiku • Horinao • Horitoshi Family Horizakura • Timothy Hoyer • Koji Ichimaru • Jakoh • Henning Jorgensen • Brian Kaneko • Robert Klem • Adrian Lee • L.A. Horitaka • Lil' Tokyo Jiro • Sulu'ape Steve Looney • Andre Malcolm • Chris O'Donnell • Chuey Quintanar • Kahlil Rintye • Stewart Robson • Mike Rubendall • Evan Skrederstu • Small Paul • Luke Stewart • The Grime • Tomo • Dan Wysuph • Yebis

 

Guide by CellGuide by Cell
FREE AUDIO TOUR

Enhance your experience of Perseverance with the FREE audio cell phone tour (no cost except your cell phone minutes). Hang up and call back as often as you’d like before, during, and after your visit. The Perseverance Cell Phone Audio Tour Guide will be accessible from March 8 – September 14, 2014.

Prompt 118: Kip Fulbeck on the exhibition design
Prompt 119: Kip Fulbeck on the exhibition photography 

Prompt 107: Colin Horisou Baker

Prompt 151: Chris Horishiki Brand on his collaboritive work with Drew Flores
Prompt 152: Chris Horishiki Brand—Clever
Prompt 154: Chris Horishiki Brand—Dogfight
Prompt 155: Chris Horishiki Brand—Golden Phoenix
Prompt 156: Chris Horishiki Brand—Monkey King

Prompt 113: Stan Corona

Prompt 112: Espi

Prompt 123: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Drew Flores

Prompt 157: Jeff Gogue

Prompt 130: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Regino Gonzales

Prompt 106: Jill Horiyuki Halpin

Prompt 135: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Don Ed Hardy

Prompt 116: Tim Hendricks
Prompt 133: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Tim Hendricks

Prompt 124: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Horikiku

Prompt 139: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Horinao

Prompt 127: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of LA Horitaka

Prompt 144: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Horitomo

Prompt 125: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Horitoshi Family Horizakura

Prompt 140: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Koji Ichimaru

Prompt 143: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Jakoh
Prompt 146: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Jakoh

Prompt 145: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Jiro

Prompt 147: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Henning Jorgensen

Prompt 142: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Junii

Prompt 117: Brian Kaneko—Oniwakamaru
Prompt 110: Brian Kaneko—Tennyo 
Prompt 121: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Brian Kaneko

Prompt 148: Takahiro Horitaka Kitamura

Prompt 136: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Adrian Lee

Prompt 132: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Sulu’ape Steve Looney

Prompt 120: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Andre Malcolm

Prompt 138: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Miyazo

Prompt 122: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Chris O’Donnell

Prompt 137: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Chuey Quintanar

Prompt 126: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Kahlil Rintye

Prompt 134: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Stewart Robson

Prompt 109: Mike Rubendall
Prompt 129: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Mike Rubendall

Prompt 141: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Shige
Prompt 149: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Shige

Prompt 114: Evan Skrederstu

Prompt 131: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Small Paul

Prompt 103: Luke Stewart
Prompt 128: Takahiro Kitamura on the work of Luke Stewart

Prompt 108: Dan Wysuph

March 08 - September 14, 2014

Japanese American National Museum

100 N. Central Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World explores the artistry of traditional Japanese tattoos along with its rich history and influence on modern tattoo practices in this groundbreaking photographic exhibition.

As Japanese tattoos have moved into the mainstream, the artistry and legacy of Japanese tattooing remain both enigmatic and misunderstood. Often copied by practitioners and aficionados in the West without regard to its rich history, symbolism, or tradition, the art form is commonly reduced to a visual or exotic caricature. Conversely, mainstream Japanese culture still dismisses the subject itself as underground, associating it more with some of its clientele than with the artists practicing it. Both of these mindsets ignore the vast artistry and rich history of the practice.

Although tattooing is largely seen as an underground activity in Japan, Japanese tattoo artists have pursued their passions, applied their skills, and have risen to become internationally acclaimed artists. Through the endurance and dedication of these tattoo artists, Japanese tattooing has also persevered and is now internationally renowned for its artistry, lineage, historical symbolism, and skill.

Curated by Takahiro Kitamura and photographed and designed by Kip Fulbeck, Perseverance is a groundbreaking exhibition and the first of its kind. Perseverance explores Japanese tattooing as an art form by acknowledging its roots in ukiyo-e prints. This exhibition also examines current practices and offshoots of Japanese tattooing in the U.S. and Japan.

Perseverance features the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, Horitaka, Horitomo, Chris Horishiki Brand, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken, along with tattoo works by selected others. Through the display of a variety of photographs, including life-sized pictures of full body tattoos, these artists cover a broad spectrum of the current world of Japanese tattooing.

 

Premier Sponsor
Mariko Gordon and Hugh Cosman

Patron Sponsors
Perseverance Patron sponsors

Friends
LSTattooMuseum.com
Pasadena Art Alliance Pasadena Art Alliance
UCSB Academic Senate
UCSB Department of Art

Supporters
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Richard Ross
Samy’s Camera
Spoonflower, Inc.
Target
Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation

Media Sponsor
The Rafu Shimpo

 

 

Now Traveling!

Check the Venues page to see where the exhibition is traveling.

 

Interested in booking this display? Download the travel fact sheet.

#janmtattooshow

March 08 - September 14, 2014

Japanese American National Museum

100 N. Central Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World explores the artistry of traditional Japanese tattoos along with its rich history and influence on modern tattoo practices in this groundbreaking photographic exhibition.

As Japanese tattoos have moved into the mainstream, the artistry and legacy of Japanese tattooing remain both enigmatic and misunderstood. Often copied by practitioners and aficionados in the West without regard to its rich history, symbolism, or tradition, the art form is commonly reduced to a visual or exotic caricature. Conversely, mainstream Japanese culture still dismisses the subject itself as underground, associating it more with some of its clientele than with the artists practicing it. Both of these mindsets ignore the vast artistry and rich history of the practice.

Although tattooing is largely seen as an underground activity in Japan, Japanese tattoo artists have pursued their passions, applied their skills, and have risen to become internationally acclaimed artists. Through the endurance and dedication of these tattoo artists, Japanese tattooing has also persevered and is now internationally renowned for its artistry, lineage, historical symbolism, and skill.

Curated by Takahiro Kitamura and photographed and designed by Kip Fulbeck, Perseverance is a groundbreaking exhibition and the first of its kind. Perseverance explores Japanese tattooing as an art form by acknowledging its roots in ukiyo-e prints. This exhibition also examines current practices and offshoots of Japanese tattooing in the U.S. and Japan.

Perseverance features the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, Horitaka, Horitomo, Chris Horishiki Brand, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken, along with tattoo works by selected others. Through the display of a variety of photographs, including life-sized pictures of full body tattoos, these artists cover a broad spectrum of the current world of Japanese tattooing.

 

Premier Sponsor
Mariko Gordon and Hugh Cosman

Patron Sponsors
Perseverance Patron sponsors

Friends
LSTattooMuseum.com
Pasadena Art Alliance Pasadena Art Alliance
UCSB Academic Senate
UCSB Department of Art

Supporters
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Richard Ross
Samy’s Camera
Spoonflower, Inc.
Target
Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation

Media Sponsor
The Rafu Shimpo

 

 

Now Traveling!

Check the Venues page to see where the exhibition is traveling.

 

Interested in booking this display? Download the travel fact sheet.

#janmtattooshow

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