Of Demons, Dragons and Spray Paint: Gajin Fujita Adds Street Art to Ancient Japanese Style in Exhibition

"Shore Line Duel" (2004)

Ukiyo-e, the popular artistic genre of woodblock print in 17th to 20th century Japan, is famed for its dreamy landscapes, depictions of heroes and its narratives of history.  Now it’s the 21st century and ukiyo-e received an urban facelift from Gajin Fujita through graffiti, tatted up demons and street fighting samurais.

The Japanese American lets his imagination run wild for his first ever west coast exhibit at the Pacific Asia Museum that runs until Oct. 7.  “Gajin Fujita: Ukiyo-e in Contemporary Painting” is a gritty display of traditional Japan meets the eclectic underground of Los Angeles street art.

A piece that depicts this urban meets shogun blend is Fujita’s “Shore Line Duel” (2004).  The large wood print canvas shows two samurais in traditional armor on the verge of battling each other.  Behind them ukiyo-e styled waves writhe amidst a graffiti covered wall with titles like “street assassins.”  Underneath the samurai, is a tag in camouflage that reads, “duel;” foreshadowing the inevitable clash between the two warriors in this street landscape.

The Los Angeles native has gained fame for his pop/street art mashups with ukiyo-e since his first exhibition a decade ago.  Now he is considered a pioneer and leader in the highlighting graffiti’s influence on 21st century art.

For more information on the “Gajin Fujita: Ukiyo-e in Contemporary Painting” you can visit the Pacific Asia Museum website.

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Source: LA Times