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Contemporary netsuke

A forum for INS sponsor Artists to showcase and discuss their work.
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Leon
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Location: The Netherlands
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Contemporary netsuke

Postby Leon » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:55 pm

There's really a lot to say about this one, my 'Graffiti Sphere'.
It is the most contemporary subject I ever used.
I showed it in Cologne but I'm curious what you all think of it.
Its a deer antler sphere, inlaid with various metals (some fused together), mother of pearl, lacquer and horn. 4 cm.

#14 1.jpg

#14 2.jpg

#14 3.jpg

#14 4.jpg

#14 5.jpg


And Martyn was kind again and made this 360 view: https://tinyurl.com/artiseverywhere
Thanks mate.
Last edited by Leon on Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AFNetsuke
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Location: Central California coast, USA

Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby AFNetsuke » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:08 am

Love the techniques, love the 360 view (really helps to see the piece!), but don't care for the subject matter. Sorry, I'm sure others will.
Alan

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souldeep
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Location: London

Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby souldeep » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:13 am

Hi Leon,

I love your philosophy behind this work. Although the message is intergenerational, the graffiti medium may not be (as we see with Alan's reply). This for me, makes the message even more playful.

May I enquire into how the heck you carve such an elegant sphere from a piece of stag antler?

Could you also share with us why/how the Graffiti medium influenced your work?
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

carlomagno
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Location: Chile

Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby carlomagno » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:30 am

IMHO I hate graffiti being a regular daily damage to our cities in Chile but have to grant is also art expression in many cases. This netsuke of you is art besides a clever use of materials. A new way to express through Netsuke and.......is fun
Last edited by carlomagno on Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Nec spe nec metu

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Clive
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby Clive » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:41 pm

I admire your craftsmanship Leon and would always like to be as supportive as possible.. but since you ask again about this piece I've got to say this time I just don't think it works.

When we talked about it in Cologne I told you that I didn't like the himotoshi.. and that's true.. I don't like the himotoshi.. I think that if you commit to doing something you should go for it 100%.. and the himotoshi that you made was half-hearted and weak.. but that was just me being diplomatic. :shock: The truth of the matter that I was hoping to draw your attention too was that my opinion you had completely bottled out off what was a powerful challenging provocative idea (BTW.. "bottled out".. that's an English expression meaning "played it safe")

I think it would have worked better if you had in fact used graffiti on a netsuke.. something along these lines for instance..
17c3cb109d50bd37.jpg


PS.. obviously I would be horrified and very angry if you had in fact vandalised a genuine netsuke but you could have used all your wonderful skills to create a perfect "Fake" to abuse ;)
Last edited by Clive on Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Leon
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby Leon » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:07 pm

I disagree, of course, and I’m happy with that.

With my last four works I explored the basic question I repeatedly ask myself,
"What is the reason I, a twenty-first century western artist, works within the Japanese netsuke tradition?"
I explored 'nature' as a theme, 'storytelling', 'the fun of carving' and 'contemporary'.
It's just a personal journey/exploration, not a 'statement'.

So contemplating about 'contemporary' I wanted to make something that at first sight was clearly not made long ago. So I opted for what I called a concrete sphere. Clean shape, lots of details in surface structure and coloration.
Adding graffiti should make it even more 'modern' and gave me the opportunity to add materials and color in the line of netsuke tradition.

Clive is right. I may have played it safe, I could have taken it to another level. For me however, this was far enough off the beaten track. There was no intention to shock the netsuke world. Just exploring old traditional techniques and materials in a new way. With, I hope, respect to those traditions.


Martyn, the sphere is turned on a small lathe from a piece of very heavy and dense antler.
There are plenty of tricks to turn a near perfect globe. And I do not really master them, lots of sanding.
All materials are inlaid to keep the sphere as round as possible. To withstand wear all the lacquer is painted in recesses, often 12 to 14 layers, and then polished. The blue lacquer is colored with self-made pigment from lapis lazuli. The letters forming 'ART' were made from a piece of copper fused to silver, made by Ford Hallam especially for this work. (Note the three colors, the copper, the silver and the alloy)

About the text I used. It might be untrue but I once was told there was no word in Japanese for art. Everything could be art, from teacup to paperweight. True or not, I liked that.

Carlo, I too dislike all those so called tags on buildings! But I can see beauty in a lot of graffiti. It is a continually evolving art form in itself. If only they could paint on surfaces that deserve a make over. 8-)

There is a little statement behind the "half-hearted and weak" (Clive's words) himotoshi. (It's just a drilled hole connecting to the natural channel.)
For me it's Darwin, when something is not used for a long time, it slowly disappears. :evil:
(This time it is in line with the design, I will not make a habit of it.)
I offered the buyer to make 'good/proper' himotoshi if he wanted to string the piece. He declined the offer.

I enjoyed making this piece. I hope it shows.

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souldeep
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby souldeep » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:33 pm

Wow... Wow to Clive's frank and direct critique, wow to your ideas behind this, wow to it being a collaborative work with Ford.

To be honest, I like that this discussion is frank, open and unemotive. A healthy relationship between two carvers that we all can learn from. Due to my ignorance with carving I am not in a position to offer any useful critique, but I would still like to know what relationship the graffiti style has in your mind with this piece?
Piglet: "Pooh?" Pooh: "Yes, Piglet?" Piglet: "I've been thinking..." Pooh: "That's a very good habit to get into to, Piglet." - A.A. Milne.

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Clive
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby Clive » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:02 pm

Thanks for your informative reply Leon..

I'm however now rather confused.. every artist goes on their own personal journey but you seem to be suggesting that you can work within the tradition of netsuke by making something you don't regard as netsuke but at the same time suggest that you're not making a statement by calling it a contemporary netsuke. :?

Saying that... I kinda like the anarchic nature of such a mind-game.. art is indeed everywhere. Nice one Mate. :D :x

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Leon
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby Leon » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:08 pm

I'm not sure how to read your question Martyn. I used graffiti as a representation of time.
(These style of graffiti in particular dates to the late eighties, early nineties. When words and letters still were recognizable.)

And I'm more than happy to confuse you Clive. :D I still think it was worth the effort. You may not like it being called a netsuke, you might even be right about that. But for me it is. For now. For once. Let's not all make pieces like this in the future. Neither will I.
Most of it is with respect to the tradition. The chosen form and subject lead to decisions about the himotoshi. Call it a statement if you like, but such a statement makes it drifting away from netsuke.

It's on the edge, isn't it.

(It's not soft punk. It's hardcore classic!)

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Clive
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Re: Contemporary netsuke

Postby Clive » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:03 pm

Leon wrote:And I'm more than happy to confuse you Clive. :D I still think it was worth the effort. You may not like it being called a netsuke, you might even be right about that. But for me it is. For now. For once. Let's not all make pieces like this in the future. Neither will I.
Most of it is with respect to the tradition. The chosen form and subject lead to decisions about the himotoshi. Call it a statement if you like, but such a statement makes it drifting away from netsuke.

It's on the edge, isn't it.

(It's not soft punk. It's hardcore classic!)


That is indeed the big question Leon.. is it on "the edge" or has it fallen over the side?
The edge after all is a very precarious place.. :!:
BTW as an aside.. you know my family name Hallam is derived from a place meaning "at the rocks". Near where I live in Sheffield is a place called Hallam Moor and lying up against are those rocks.. such a place is called an edge in the North of England... the most famous is Stanage Edge...
download.jpg


I'm not saying this gives me a unique understanding of edges but its got to count for something.. :lol: ;)

However... While I think its only right and proper that I and others scrutinize and challenge the exciting new ideas people like you and for instance Serge are bringing to contemporary netsuke.. please don't for a second think that I disapprove.. far from it.. I am delighted that contemporary netsuke has recently had such a great infusion of exceedingly talented new blood...

So what if a little is spilt in the "Sumo".. we are lions. ;) :D


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