Still Making Art
Five years have passed since the original Ukiyo-e Heroes Kickstarter campaign, and Jed Henry and Dave Bull are back with more great artwork!
Jed and Dave’s Ukiyo-e Heroes series - which Kickstarted back in 2012 - is now a mature and healthy project. Dozens of new designs have been added over the years, and many thousands of people all over the world now own some of these prints. A growing team of carvers and printers in Dave’s Tokyo workshop works on these prints daily. Ukiyo-e Heroes is alive and well - so well in fact, that the prints are now finding their way into major museums (see details below).
Pushing Our Craft
After five years, it's now time to take things to another level. The artisans working under Dave’s direction have been steadily increasing their skill level, and can now create prints of far greater complexity than was possible for earlier designs in this series. Our previous Ukiyo-e Heroes images were, for the most part, character studies - the images quite ‘classical’ and fairly restrained. We feel we are now ready to unleash the hidden energy in Jed’s brush, to take on quite a different challenge, so we now bring you Ukiyo-e Heroes: Boss Fights. Jed has fully embraced this opportunity we have given him, and has come up with some spectacular new creations - full of energy and conflict, top to bottom.
Jed's designs are all available as high-end giclée prints. These are professionally produced on large printers, with archival inks and a very high quality, acid-free Japanese washi, with four full deckle edges. Every giclée print will be signed and sealed by Jed. They are 12" x 17" in size, a format called Ōban (大判), which has been used for centuries.
A selection of the designs are available as handmade woodblock prints, measuring 7" x 9" (close to the traditional ko-ban size). You can watch the carving and printing process here. These prints are made on highest quality washi paper, handmade in the workshop of Living National Treasure, Iwano Ichibei IX. After production in Dave's workshop, each print is sent to Jed for signing, dating, and sealing. Wood prints are numbered in the order they are created. Every print will be embossed in the margins with the names of each craftsperson involved in its creation.
Jed has completed several new designs for this series. Please read each caption for details on availability and shipping dates.
'Fallen Blossoms, New Life"
The most popular item in our previous campaign was a special triptych (3-print set) by Jed. This time around we want even more of your wall space ... with this 4-panel set! And here's the best part - we're only charging for 3 panels. You'll get the 4th panel free!
Click the image to see it larger.
More Classic Designs as Woodblock Prints!
Previous Ukiyoe Heroes
We think this campaign will also bring many new fans to the Ukiyo-e Heroes series, so for the people who missed them the first time around, please check them out at our web shop! These are ready in stock for immediate shipping.
Special Edition Ukiyo-e Heroes Book!
The Ukiyo-e Heroes - Classics prints are - as just mentioned - available as individual items, but we also have a very special item to offer our backers: a bound volume containing all ten of the original Ukiyo-e Heroes woodblock prints issued between 2012 and 2015. Over the past few years, in preparation for this, Dave asked his printers to print a dozen or so sheets of each design on extra wide paper, to allow for them to be sewn into book form in Japanese style. These are now being bound for us - together with an information page for each design with translation of the calligraphy, notes from both Jed and Dave with their thoughts and ideas on each print, along with a publisher’s colophon. Each book will be lettered with the name of the backer, and will be dated and signed by both Jed and Dave, as a special ‘Thank you!’ for your participation in this campaign.
In addition to the Rewards of actual prints, we have picked up on another feature of our initial Kickstarter campaign - Print Parties. This ‘hands-on’ experience has become a favourite activity of visitors to Dave’s shop in Asakusa, and has even been featured in the famous series of Lonely Planet guidebooks as a ‘Must-See’ attraction for visitors to Tokyo.
Many of our fans have already done one of these Parties on a visit to Japan, so in conjunction with this Kickstarter campaign we are announcing a new image that we are preparing for backers of this campaign who plan to be traveling to Tokyo soon:
Yes, we think we've figured out how to edit the Great Wave into a form printable by our Print Party guests. Come and make one! (Please note - we are just now beginning to carve the block set, so if you are coming to Japan for the autumn season it won’t be ready by then. We expect it will be in place on the Party benches by the end of the year ...)
Postscript - Museum Collections
Just how well has the original Ukiyo-e Heroes concept been received? In addition to the thousands of people who have chosen to collect the works, the full set of the first ten Ukiyo-e Heroes designs was recently added to the collection at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, Germany.
One of the most influential museums for arts and crafts in Europe, this museum opened in 1877, and tells the remarkable story of human creativity, with a collection ranging from Ancient to Contemporary Art. They have not only acquired the works, but they also included our Ukiyo-e Heroes prints in a major exhibition they held in 2016, one that spanned the entire 300 years of Japanese print history.
Risks and challenges
With now well over 30 years of experience living and working in Tokyo making woodblock prints, Dave has a pretty good idea of what it will take to actually produce these prints, and he is confident that his team is ready for the challenge. The only ‘loose’ variable is the question of exactly how many weeks/months each design will take to produce, but that they will be produced and shipped to backers, is not in doubt.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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