This is a most important project about human interaction, the landscape, and the geology of the Earth.
I am investigating geology, the landscape, and their relationship to the human potential.Interested in how we are affected by our environment, I am looking at how geology shapes our beliefs, folklore, language, migration, and current events. How does our perception of our everyday surroundings change our landscape? How do we, as a species, change the course of geology?
With your patronage I will visit the contemporary sites for the "Eight Views of Omi" as put into print by the Ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige 175 years ago. While at these sites I will be spending many hours creating direct observational artwork. By juxtaposing the contemporary views against those of the past we may begin to see how we affect the landscape on a human level in a comprehensible time frame of history. Through an immersion into Japanese culture close to Mt. Hiei I will be able to investigate how Shinto and Buddhism have influenced perceptions of landscape. This project will also allow me to expose Otsu-e to a wider population outside of Shiga Prefecture and even Japan. I am convinced that understanding the local folklore, Shintoism, and Buddhism are keys to understanding Japanese Culture in a full manner. I can’t expect a person to understand Shakespeare when they have no Roman or Christian points of reference, and so I don’t believe deep understandings of Japanese history or contemporary cultural movements are possible without reciprocal points of reference. In order to tie together artwork of the landscape and historically core cultural beliefs I will bring Geo-mythology into the discourse of the works. I am also investigating how humans influence geologic processes, such as induced-seismicity and its avoidance. This is a most important project that will be disseminated through an exhibition of the artwork and catalogue discussing, in more detail, the points above.
While developing this project, tragedy struck Japan and I was left with the decision to postpone or continue my investigation. After many weeks of contemplation I’ve decided to pursue this endeavor. The recent tragedy in Japan, the death toll and the displaced families of the missing has fueled my incentive to complete the project and provide expression in the best way I can to the changed human and geologic conditions of Japan. Current events have forced me to face tough questions and experience emotions about geology that I may not have otherwise. By backing this project, I will be contributing to an economy that is in dire need of recovery. Your patronage will also be extended to traditional Otsu-e painters in the region. Through personal interactions with the community I plan to create an interest in furthering commerce and dialogue between Japan and the U.S.
Tyrus, this sounds interesting, how are you going to do this through art?
These artworks will create a deeper dialogue and interest of the region and highlight our potential for change along with its implementation. I will create paintings and drawings, utilizing gouache, graphite, and sumi from direct observation of the Eight Contemporary Views of Omi. These works will then be translated into prints and larger scale works of art to be exhibited publicly. The studio pieces will be collected in book form that will explore how we affect geology in an interesting and engaging manner.
Why is this project the most important project for an American artist in Japan?
As an artist, I feel it is my obligation to express concepts that are beneficial and otherwise challenging to communicate by everyday means. This endeavor strives to create a better understanding of a culture noted for its conservation and land management by looking critically at the philosophies and practices, exploring them artistically, and sharing in a way to better both the present and future. The U.S. and Japan have a long history of trade and economic relations, as one nation’s economy and people are affected so is the other. Our histories can be used to mutually promote a better future. I will be immersed within the Japanese culture, learn and understand the landscape in terms of their sensibilities, and bring this understanding back to you.
Why Omi, or Shiga as it is called today? Where is Shiga?
I have a connection to this area of Japan through family, friends and community. This network is a good entry point for reaching out and turning strangers into friends. All of Japan has been affected by the Tohoku Earthquake each prefecture in a different ways. As displaced tsunami victims migrate to different areas of Japan they will follow the businesses moving from the affected areas. By drawing attention to this area we can bring a spotlight to the people going through this transition and learn from their experiences in a responsible way. After looking at my options, I will be able to make the biggest impact in this way.
Shiga Prefecture is in the middle of Honshu Island. The prefecture consists of the largest lake in Japan, which is surrounded by mountains, and filled with streams and rivers. Kyoto is immediately southwest of Shiga.
How long will you work there?
I will spend 42 days in which 32 of them will be working directly at the sites.
The working days will be split up into four 8 - 10 hour days of investigation per view, providing up to a total of 320 hours of work time.
How will this affect the people of Japan?
There are many ways this will affect not just the people of Japan but all of us. We will bring a quantifiable change to the economy and I will be acting as a your representative during this important project. Through personal interactions with the community I plan to create an interest in furthering commerce, travel and dialogue between Shiga Prefecture and your city. Through an online journal you will be introduced to the people that I meet and will be given the opportunity to form relationships with them as they are introduced to you and their stories are revealed. After my return to the United States I will hold an exhibition of the works that will coincide with the 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival with 30% of all sales donated to a Japan Relief fund. I believe that by utilizing your patronage now I can turn this into an investment, with its dividends donated at a time when this tragedy has left the popular consciousness and it is still needed.
How will patronage be extended to Otsu-e painters?
The Otsu-e artists will receive patronage in three ways.
1. If chosen by you, the $50.00 Backer Award is a piece of artwork made by these traditional artists, and purchased directly from them. 2. I will spend two days with the artists to learn from them. Through a more intimate relationship I will be able to promote their work even when talking about my own. 3. The Otsu-e process is family and community based, which will be further explored in my book to continue promoting what they do.
How does this project affect Japan's situation immediately?
An important dialogue and understanding will be raised to a larger population when it would otherwise go unnoticed. Infrastructure and jobs have become a priority as food and shelter become more readily available for the earthquake and tsunami victims. Promoting interest, tourism, and trade the “Eight Contemporary Views of Omi” is designed to ease the hardships of rebuilding and to create jobs directly and indirectly. While the devastation from natural disasters is great, the way we treat our surroundings before and after such an occurrence will affect it exponentially. This is a long-term plan that involves thinking eight months to a year or more in the future, and expects to see returns for a lifetime.
How will the money for this project be spent? Are you taking a profit?
No, none of the award funds will be utilized outside of this project. Any money that you contribute will go directly to its funding.
A break down of how these funds will be utilized.
-$250.00 (payment to Kickstarter and Amazon for hosting the project; they each take 5%)
-$1500 Airfare and Bus
$750 to be exchanged into Yen
- 5% exchange fee
=$712.5 which at the current exchange rate is Y59279.64
-Y25000.00 for art supplies
Translated back into U.S. currency this is $412.02 to be split up between shipment of work, mailing postcards, and raw materials for the final pieces. Split up between a conservative estimate of 100 people needed to fund this project would result in an average of $4.12 per person. Of course depending on your award level shipping and materials will be different, for a post card maybe $1.80 from Japan, for a piece of art maybe $5-$10 dependent on size and type, upwards to $50.00-$100.00 for large paintings with insurance.
50% of any funding exceeding the project goals will be placed in an interest bearing savings account to be donated at the same time as the sales from exhibition.
The full amount to fund this endeavor will be in excess of $6,000.00. I am not asking you to back my mortgage, car insurance, and all those delightful things while in Japan, I'll be doing so with money that I save up on my own. I will also be paying out of pocket for my own food and transportation within Japan. I have been graciously offered a place to stay as to limit the amount needed to make this project possible. This effort will fund the basic requirements to complete the project.
If you aren't able to contribute to this project directly please tell your friends and family as any discussions this creates is a success.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
I hope this is helpful, and thank you for your interest and time reading!
For a more in depth look at the inspiration behind this project please click HERE .
Note: your credit card won't be charged for the amount you specify unless we get all $2,500 or more in funding by July 5th. If you have problems with the payment system here, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll figure out an alternative payment method.
Whew! You made it all the way down here! Below are images of Hiroshige's "Eight Views of Omi." I hope they inspire you as they have me.
Autumn Moon over Ishiyama
Evening Bell at Mii
Evening Glow on The Seta River
Evening Rain on Karasaki
Returning Sailboats at Yabase
Distant View of Awazu
Geese Returning at Katata
Spring Snow at Hira
- (88 days)