Under the Bridge
(after Gakutei/RHCP)

You know how you sometimes remember differently or in much better way some artworks that you liked. It could be paintings, books, movies or comics. To me it is most evident in video games; you remember old video games in much higher and more vivid resolution, especially if they had great story in them. I wanted to make Yashima Gakutei´s print Suehiro Bridge near Mt. Tenpo on a Moonlit Night part of my 100 Views of Ukiyo-e series but I realized that I remember it differently. Instead of pines, I remember seeing sakura and people enjoying their boat trip while viewing sakura. The bridge didn´t have suspensors and it was daytime.

When I finally decided to do new “original” painting I realized that it will not do, I had to change so much within it. So I just let my mind go. I loved the composition and I kept the night scenery, but I under-painted everything with gold, than I used 8 blues for a night sky and 8 metallic blues for the water. And I just went full saturated nuts while leaving the boat in 6 shades of gold. I had a personal assistant doing sakura flowers in the background, my daughter Dunja.

For the characters I used markers to give them more comic character feeling. While painting I made up the entire movie about the scene.

But let me tell you a few words about Gakutei. He was a poet and an artist from Osaka who studied under Hokusai, and therefore his landscapes have huge similarities to Hokusai´s.

The Movie

As this is going to be a part of my Japanesque series, the title of the painting is Under the Bridge inspired by Red Hot Chili Peppers and it´s there in ironical way. The song that is about alienation through drugs abuse and general feel of depression of the 90’s, where the pavement and people on the streets are your “only friends”, is in a great contrast with the contemporary situation, where alienation is induced by technology and egocentrism as the peak of consumerist / marketing raised global culture. Nobody drew some blood with strangers surrounding them in an attempt to escape under the bridge that is built over some concrete sewage system that previously was a river, and only redness is drew by camera of red-eye effect, where the group of connected people, instead of enjoying together this beautiful surrounding that they are in, is centered around themselves, trying to reach and promote the image of themselves to a larger audience through technology.

It is a post-Olympics game (2020) Japan. The economy is in shatters. Japan´s identity is in the state of intercultural shock. The inability of government to deal with immigration led to a lack of working force. A sudden explosion in mortality rate number of older population resulted in a large number of vacant properties (they didn´t receive enough “whale” vitamin when they were developing as pensionists). To keep NEET generation employed an immense number of houses, buildings or entire areas were given to local social groups to make them available for the rent to foreigners.

Here we are seeing two couples in Osaka. To attract more tourists, the entire Japan was developing theme parks that are inspired by Edo period, Godzilla and video games. Even Fukushima Power Plant became one. The first couple is #mellowyellow Jamaican albino bisexual model and #pinkUi transgender graphic web and UI designer from Israel, who are here because traditional Japanese gay weddings became hit after the Olympics. And it is much cheaper to live here than in the US. They met in Boston where #mellowyellow was doing new lotion commercial and #pinkUi, yordim from Israel to Boston, was doing project at the MIT. They met in front of Takashi Murakami´s painting in Boston´s MFA. #pinkUi is going through gender change therapy, causing him to have terrible mood swings and since he has always loved Japan, they decided to move and have a wedding there. They are having a blast; they love Japanese food (to #mellowyellow washoku reminds him of ital food that he had at home), sake and umeshu, gentleness of the people. # mellowyellow is live streaming to Instagram while #pinkUi is on video call with his gender transition support group in Boston.

#mellowyellow & #pinkUi

#CaptainDrain is a son of rich American republican, who owns stocks in oil companies and he has a plan to move into recycling bio waste energy, pointing his son to specialize into drainage and sewage systems. #CaptainDrain likes to present himself as self-employed liberal hipster, but truth is that he is employed by his father company. He is latent homosexual, but he will never admit that, here in the role of the best man for #pinkUi who he met at MIT where he is on PhD in Urban Studies and Planning. He is using this trip to research Japanese drainage and sewage system. His biggest loves are sailboats and yachts and he is streaming to his closed group on facebook, Sons of Ahab, how he is sailing traditional Japanese boat. #biochick is second generation of Bosnian refugees in Holland and fiancé of #CaptainDrain. She is a Research Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Delft University of Technology and she met #CaptainDrain at MIT when she was there on Fulbright. Although she always fancied Japan, she doesn´t like it here. Food is terrible, humidity is terrible and all jolly atmosphere between #CaptainDrain, #pinkUi & #mellowyellow is getting on her nerves. She is starting to question her engagement to #CaptainDrain but she is not consciously aware that something in his posture and somewhat laid back attitude deeply reminds her of her late father. She thought that it would be cool to use this moment to record short lecture with this beautiful sakura in background and post it on her YouTube channel. Unfortunately she dropped her Samsung 3XL, which is a final drop in her discontent with entire situation. She will spend the entire night screaming and yelling at #CaptainDrain and after that they will make mad love without protection and she will become pregnant with twins. Latter on she will remember this as the best times in her life.

#CaptainDrain & #biochick

The fifth character on the painting is #nekoobachan, the oldest Hello Kitty and Sailor Moon Japanese otaku in Japan. She is authority on these two characters and she owns largest collection of collectables. Also she has 100 000 times bigger fan base and followers than all of the previous characters on the painting combined. She is here, streaming for her followers, her and Hello Kitty AR (Augmented Reality) character being together on Suehiro Bridge in a moonlight enjoying yozakura. The whole event is observed by millions worldwide, since new line of accessories will be introduced for the first time. #nekoobachan is a single asexual old woman that never really connected to anyone in her entire life. She will die in business class airplane on her way to Comic-Con.


There is the sixth character in the boat, but he is not important, he is there to do the entire job, run the boat, prepare food and drinks for the tourists and to be support in any ridiculous needs they have.

And now I ask you:

What movie do you see?

Technique: acrylic on canvas

Size: diptych120 x 177 cm
2x 120 x 88,50 cm

Year: June 2019

Availability: In Private Collection



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