The Sento is a Japanese public bathing house. There was one just near to where I lived in Kyoto and I would go there nearly every weekend. I enjoyed the feeling of stepping out of the torrid sauna into an ice-cold bath and sitting very still for about ten minutes. It was whilst doing this, and looking at the walls, that I chose my subject for some woodblock prints.
Ukiyo-e landscape artists (Hokusai and Hiroshige are famous examples) sometimes depicted fleeting and energetic moments of nature in a clean, linear and precise way. The medium of wood dictated it. Using this idea, I thought it would be a challenging exercise to capture the odd visual effects caused by emerging my body in drastically different temperatures. Like the Ukiyo-e masters, my intention was to balance this representational element with a harmony of composition and colour.
The two prints above were exhibited at the KCUA International Students Exhibition 2011, at Kyoto Art Centre.
Ukiyo, or 'The Floating World', was the term given to the pleasure seeking urban lifestyle of the merchant classes in Edo Period Japan. Drinking, Geisha, socialising, sex, theatre, sumo-wrestling and tea drinking were all part of the night's entertainment. The documents of these times were the Ukiyo-e, or 'Floating World Pictures'. Ukiyo-e were woodblock prints that celebrated this decadent lifestyle. Often drawn from above, as if the viewer is literally 'floating' above the scene, the Ukiyo-e became a very popular form of public entertainment and developed into including broader themes such as landscape, mythology and battle scenes.
Here are a small series of images that tell the story of Sakezou-kun, a salaryman who enjoys the revels of 21st century Japan's nightlife. However, the story is circular and Sakezou is destined to repeat his drunken night for eternity.