What are Gamori prints? I tried looking it up in the dictionary without any success. Takeshi Ishikawa made up this word eighteen years ago for his digital prints. Wait! Eighteen years ago? High schools in Japan were just starting to use computers instead of word processors then. I never realized that he had been digital for that long! When I met him about five years ago, I thought he had just started doing digital prints. I really have to start asking more questions.
Let me explain how I know him. When four other artists and I had a show in Chiba several years ago, Ishikawa visited Space Galeria to show the owner samples of some textiles that used his artwork. The owner is a big fan of his work and encouraged him to try textile design. A hotel in Okinawa commissioned him to do some work for the linens and other pieces if I recall correctly, and he shared some of the sample terrycloth washcloths with us. By coincidence, the community centre where our group held meetings also used some of his beautiful prints on their posters and catalogues.
Space Galeria asked Joei Lau, me, and more than 30 other artists to use the artist proofs of Ishikawa’s Gamori prints and create more artwork. The show’s name, by coincidence, is “Gamori Print de Asobu” (Fun with Gamori Prints). This is not as easy as it sounds! Many of the proofs have lots of strong colours mixed with large black areas. How do you draw on that? How do you make a piece that reflects you as an artist but also pays homage to Ishikawa? Masako Otani, the curator, said we could put pieces of his prints in a blender and chop them up into small pieces like hamburger, but I do not think I would like the results if I did that. I secretly hope that somebody will take her word on that and make digital mincemeat. The sculptors in the group supposedly have it easier because they are using the paper as a medium without worrying about the surface colour or imagery. How are they going to fit all of the artwork into the gallery? All of the work will be available for sale and shown in Space Galeria from October 31 to November 10, 2013. If you want to say hello, Takeshi Ishikawa and many of the participating artists will be at the gallery on Wednesday, November 6, 2013. The results of this creative challenge could be quite interesting. We take no responsibility for the final results.