Kabuki play The Thousand Cherry Trees of Yoshitsune
after Sharaku

Kabuki play The Thousand Cherry Trees of Yoshitsune after Sharaku -size reference-

When I was a teenager the only art I considered worthy were Roy Lichtenstein´s paintings. I was a kid growing up on comics and animation, had a little of fine arts education in my primary school, and in my high school time the war in Bosnia was ravaging all aspects of my life and art was unimportant to anyone. 16 years after, it´s almost the same- people had lost touch with arts and newly developed primitive /democratic /nationalistic /capitalistic /consumer society in Bosnia doesn´t understand concept of art or artist. It was in this madness of 1994 that I first saw Whaam! for the first time in the same book about comics and soon I was reading about Pop Art. I could understand Pop Art;  it seemed natural to me, the same goes for comic book reader and from time to time comic artist. It soon led me to enroll at the Academy.

When facing a final exam for my Diploma degree I chose Pop Art for my written paper, but I was looking for its roots, and in my exploration I came across Ukiyo-e. It was a simple question of what movement had portraits of popular actors or stills from movies before Pop Art that led me to it. In Ukiyo-e, portraits of famous actors were multiplied, and stills from dramatic scenes from popular kabuki plays were presented in various ways. In my opinion Ukiyo-e is Pop Art of Edo period and I believe “the influence of Japonism (Ukiyo-e) was what was needed to deliver us from the murky black tradition” (Émile Zola) of western arts and led us to modern and contemporary.

On this painting we see actors Sawamura Yodogoro II as Kawatsura Hogen and Bando Zenji as Oninosadobo  in the kabuki play The Thousand Cherry Trees of Yoshitsune. What attracted me subconsciously to this view is similarity of characters depicted to the two of my friends who almost look the same when they are in a mood for mischief. This was something that I have realized later on.

Technique: acrylic on canvas

Size: 177 x 120 cm (69.68 x 47.24 inch)

Year: May 2011

Availability: In Private Collection

100 Views of Ukiyo-e

During my exploration of the beginning of modern art (Impressionism and Post-Impressionism) I found myself surrounded by beautiful views of Ukiyo-e prints. They were my explanation to everything: modern/contemporary painting, design, illustration, comics and animation. Even more, I had to tell that to everyone. Firstly, I did impressions/interpretations of famous works of Hiroshige and Hokusai, but I couldn´t stop there… I finally found my call.100 Views of Ukiyo-e is my life mission to re-create new originals of selected 100 Ukiyo-e prints, new original painting in new oban size. It is divided in 4 Volumes of 25 canvases, some of the forming diptychs or triptychs. So far I have finished the first set that introduces several masters, styles and topics.

A review by Amalija Stojsavljević, art historian can be read here.

Volume I – Masters

The First Volume of series of paintings of the 100 Views of Ukiyo-e. This initial set was a practical part of my magistrate thesis in Arts at Academy of Fine Arts, Sarajevo. I tried to introduce great masters of Ukiyo-e, specific styles and topics from its begging to the end.

100 Views of Ukiyo-e, Volume I: Masters Exhibition Catalogue for Web