Beyond Raging Waves

I wanted to do some kind of “my” mandala, for quite some time now. I imagined doing something like Daihi Taizo mandala (大悲胎蔵曼荼羅 – Mahakaruna-garbhodbhava mandala), different things I like, that somehow defined me over some central figure. I was thinking about different anime characters- mecha, comic novel heroes, SF writer, artists,  and it just went beyond being paintable. In a process of planning I realized that in the end my last 10 years were not defined by those things or persons but rather by my work. I remembered ceiling painting of dragon flying over the waves by Hokusai done for the Higashimachi festival float and ,in a way, it defined my work and me for the last 10 years- Hokusai´s Great Wave and sakura flowers. I´ll be the dragon.

For the title I choose Beyond Raging Waves by Dj Krush. Downtempo beats electrified by Shinichi Kinoshita´s masterful played tune on shamisen seems to resonate with my everyday struggle as an artist in this godforsaken country. Living in a small post-war fucked up country with population of 3,3 million people, barely enough to fill daily statistic of passengers using Shinjuku Station, and being a Visual Artist ★ Ronin ★ Painter inspired by ukiyo-e prints is like choosing a slow suicide. In the country where there is no art market whatsoever, no art criticism, where museums and galleries are falling apart and where the majority of population is uneducated and uncultured cannon fodder for ruling kleptocracy, unable to see and appreciate what they have and what they have lost, blinded by consumerism and nationalism, I take my stand with the Great Waves and blooming sakura.

I made a few changes to the original design. The first of all, original painting has been made for ceiling therefore it was meant to be seen from bellow and therefore the composition was built in that way. The waves form a ring around a dragon that is flying above them. My painting is an “ordinary”  painting and the waves are crushing in from both sides forming a tunnel. And I doubled a number of waves to have more densifying scene, so if you look closely there is a second layer of the waves forming a discreet depth of the field. From within this tunnel comes a dragon, carried by the third wave, a wave of the blooming sakura. To honor Hokusai´s original painting I went with the insane amount of details on this painting. Almost everything here is painted or drawn twice. There is a fully detailed drawing of dragon scales below the green and then another over it, creating a sense of the shading on each individual scale. To contrast two dimensional drawings of the dragon I used painting knives to form dragon´s mane in gold impasto. The effect is rather stunning burning gold. The skin has been painted with a mixture of metallic green and pearl and for the belly a mixture of metallic turquois with drops of cyan and pearl. The skin comes alive and has different shades depending on the light.  For waves, each one has been drawn to detail and enriched with drops of (white) water where I saw they fit. I invested all my strength into it. You see, this is my 11th painting in Corona series and I wanted to put gigantic full stop punctuation with this painting.

O spirit of Hokusai ,

let me be a dragon,

let me take my art,

beyond the raging waves,

on the blooming sakura.


Technique: acrylic on canvas

Size: 106 x 106 cm

Year: July 2020

Availability: In Private Collection



Paintings done in Japanese style. Mostly variations and fusions of famous Ukiyo-e prints, global pop culture & sakura.