Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mayada Maya Exhibition at Gallery La Mer

I quite liked Mayada Maya's pictures - and would have liked to talk to the artist about them (particularly the name of the exhibit "Lost my name / Lost my home"), but only the gallery owner and another viewer were there in the gallery when I went by.
Mayada Maya / Gallery La Mer

From what the gallery owner said, the artist is a university student.

The website for the La Mer gallery is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Daimon Suihou (大門翠鵬) Exhibition at Ono Gallery-2 (銀座小野画廊-II) - (2010/02)

This exhibit's theme seemed to be a combination of fish and machines.  There artist wasn't there when I dropped by, so I couldn't ask about it, but here's the promotional postcard:

大門翠鵬 / 銀座小野画廊-II

 The artist's website is:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Street Band 'Village' - LIve in Shinjuku on February 23rd, 2010"

This spot on the west side of Shinjuku Station is probably less conspicuous and therefore less likely to draw complaints (to the police, who then ask people to stop playing), but it also doesn't seem to generate many listeners. The plaza was good for getting an audience, but considering how often the police came around, chasing bands away from it in the autumn of 2008, probably it also generated complaints.

These guys seemed to sound pretty good, although I didn't stay very long.  Anyway, here's what I heard:

        新宿駅西口あたり ビレッジのライブ 東京

Their website is:

And - here's a still picture I took:
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Street Band Mitsumassyu - LIve in Shinjuku on February 23rd, 2010"

The flyer I got for this group shows four people, as does a website I saw with pictures of them performing (in Washington DC), but there were only two members of the band on the evening of February 23rd, 2010.

Incidentally, the spelling of their name (based on ミツマッシュ) as "Mitsumassyu" is using a defunct and outdated system of "romaji" for writing Japanese with English letters.  They should be spelling their name: "Mitsumasshu", unless, of course, they are doing it intentionally to have a quirky name.

新宿駅西口あたり  ミツマッシュのライブ  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Ani-Zoo (兄藏) Live in Shinjuku on February 23rd, 2010

Ani-Zoo (兄藏) seems to play in Shinjuku fairly regularly - certainly I've seen him there several times myself.


Ani-Zoo's old website:
Ani-Zoo's new website:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"The Band 'Super Natural' - Live in Shinjuku on February 23rd, 2010"

The street band "Super Natural" (two words), playing near the south exit of Shinjuku Station.  Maika handles vocals and Zenka guitar.  Their website is: 

      新宿駅南口のストリートバンド "Super Natural"

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fuji Akinaga (藤井光永) and Yamashita Akinobu (山下晃伸) Exhibit at Gallery Serikawa (芹川画廊)

As a photographer, the experience of viewing other photographers' work is always much different from how I feel when viewing paintings, which I am unable to create myself, and so have no competitive feelings about!  That preamble out of the way, here's the promotional card for a recent exhibition at Gallery Serikawa.
藤井光永 and 山下晃伸 at 芹川画廊

I focused on the photographs with a critical eye (I can't help doing that when I look at photos...), and was impressed with the way people were recorded out on the streets of Tokyo in a way that you would think the photographer would have to be invisible to do.  One picture in particular comes to mind - of a man looking meaningfully into the eyes of his girlfriend by a... square building support I think it is.  For a number of reasons, that sort of picture is not easy to take!

So, if you would like to see images of unposed inhabitants of Tokyo, I recommend going over to Gallery Serikawa and having a look by February 28th, 2010, which is the last day of the exhibit.  In addition to the prints on the wall - arranged by year - there are several scrapbooks of photos that you can peruse as well.  The back of the promotional card has instructions on how to get to the gallery:

藤井光永 and 山下晃伸 at 芹川画廊

And - it's in the cool old Okuno Building.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Nagai Kenji (長井研治) Exhibition at Gallery Kobo (巷房)

This exhibition consists of large drawings similar to the one on this promotional postcard:
長井研治 - 巷房

"Large" is important, as the effect of Nagai Kenji's art is not conveyed properly in such a small image.

The exhibit is a two-part one, with half of it on the 3rd floor and half in the basement - both Gallery Kobo ( spaces.

While I was contemplating this exhibit in the basement, the artist was being questioned by a group of women.  One of them asked about how he did the background (what looks like a solid beige tone in the scanned promotional card above, but contains clear brush-strokes in the original).  He explained about that, and then he was asked which he painted first - the background, or the central part.

He responded "doji-ni" (simultaneously), which produced vocal protests on the part of the women and a silent protest on my part.  I thought "That can't be possible unless you're painting with your left and right hands simultaneously...".  Actually, I got the strong impression that the artist simply didn't wish to answer that question, so he gave a non-answer.  I left as the discussion continued to go in circles, with the women prodding, and him saying "doji-ni" again.

Anyway!  However he makes his art, the effect - in its original large format - is interesting.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Usuki Hideyuki (臼木英之) Exhibition at Gallery Ohmi-1 (ギャラリー近江-1)

I originally met the artist Usuki Hideyuki (臼木英之) at a gallery in Kyobashi. I was on my way to Ginza from Tokyo station, and I turned into a side street to get away from the irritating noise of a main street full of fire-breathing machinery.  I walked down a block and then turned again to walk in parallel with the main road, but with its noise blissfully blocked by a block full of buildings.
臼木英之 - ギャラリー近江-1

I relaxed a little, sighed, and thought how vastly more pleasant cities would be if there were no personal cars in them, and then - down the road a fairly short distance, I noticed a very striking picture in a gallery window, so I walked in to have a look....  An example of the type of picture on display is further down the page, but first, have a look (above & below this paragraph) at the promotional card (front & back) for the artist's current Ginza exhibition.
臼木英之 - ギャラリー近江-1

The current (Ginza) exhibition is primarily original paintings on clothing.  I asked if very special care must be taken when washing the material, and he assured me that it can be washed normally.  The gallery address is:
ギャラリー近江(おうみ) 中央区銀座6-9-16 ロシュビル1F Tel 03 3571 6480

A promotional postcard for one of his previous exhibits is as follows:

The artist's website is:

If you're in Ginza this week, drop by and have a look.  Another artist has a few things on display as well - interestingly-styled clothing made from silk kimono material.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Ikebukuro - Three-Piece Street Jazz Band - February 19th, 2010"

As people walk up and down the sidewalk, a three-piece jazz band plays cool tunes - listened to by a line of people standing up against the building.  The sidewalk is narrower here than further down, so everyone has to walk right by them.

I wish I knew the bands name so I could put more information about them in here, but I didn't see any signs and they weren't giving out flyers about themselves....

池袋駅東口前のストリートジャズバンド  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:23 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Okamoto Taka (岡本拓) - LIve in Ikebukuro on February 19th, 2010"

Following my ears - I came upon the third musical street performance of the evening - Okamoto Taka (岡本拓), singing and playing his guitar. His website is:

池袋駅東口前の岡本拓ライブ 東京 (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:24 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Yoshida Takashi - Live in Ikebukuro, February 19th, 2010"

The first of four groups of musicians I saw on Friday, February 19th, 2010 (with one of the four being a solo act).  As you can see in this video, there were two people - both singing and playing the guitar, but the flyer I got only has the name "Yoshida Takashi", so I guess the other guy is an anonymous(?) backup musician.  The website for Yoshida Takashi is:

池袋駅前東口のストリートバンド  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:20 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Hitomiriry (ヒトミリリィ) Live in Ikebukuro" February 19th, 2010

This couple was set up on the wide traffic island in the front of the east side of Ikebukuro Station, so they got the waves of street crossers - in time with each green light.  Their website is:

池袋駅東口前のヒトミリリィのライブ  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:27 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mizukuchi Kayoko (水口かよこ) at Jungaro (純画廊)

Mizukuchi Kayoko has a nice display of wook-block prints (木版画) at the Jungaro Gallery in Ginza.  The artist is skillful at capturing the magic hour in the evening when clouds look their best.

The color in this promotional postcard is a bit different from the original (which is generally the case - it's hard to get the color exactly the same when printing).

水口かよこ  -  木版画 at 純画廊

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Hada Seiwa (秦世和) Gallery Kobo (巷房階段下) - (2010/02)

Hada Seiwa has another interesting exhibit under the basement stairs in the third of the three display spaces of Gallery Kobo.  He had a similar display last year that I was really taken with, but while I remembered the previous display when I saw the the current display, I didn't actually recognize him when he mentioned that we'd met before.  But come to think of it - while he was explaining his art before, I was busy looking at the art, not his face, so...

The promotional postcard doesn't show the exhibit, but here it is anyway:

At this link is a photo of one small part of the display:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mori Aya (森彩) at Gallery Serikawa (芹川画廊) [Feb. 2010]

Mori Aya exhibited three pictures at Gallery Serikawa's recent multi-contributor exhibit.  She said that while in high school, she took black & white photos, and this has probably influenced her ink drawings, which are - in a sense - an extension of her previous black & white photography.

As the two ink drawings were behind glass, there were some problems with reflections, which have affected the results here somewhat, so it's better to see the originals (which is always the case anyway!)

(The three images in this posting are reproduced with the artist's permission.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Narumi Mineko (鳴海美年子) Exhibition at Ono Garo (小野画廊) [Feb. 2010]

Narumi Mineko produces art utilizing burn techniques that create something you wouldn't imagine without seeing them.  A couple of examples (from her promotional postcards) are as follows.


I saw the exhibit in the Okuno Building, but got lost when trying to find the other (simultaneous) exhibit at another gallery in Ginza.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Ani-Zoo (兄藏) Live in Shinjuku - February 9th, 2010

I've been seeing Ani-Zoo live in Shinjuku on and off now for several years.  The road noise generated by our friends, the fire-breathing machines, interfered with the music, but it was still good to listen to.


Ani-Zoo's old website:
Ani-Zoo's new website:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Hibiki Live in Shinjuku - February 9th, 2010

Hibiki live on the west side of Shinjuku Station.  Nearly all of the people gathered around listening to them were women.  Not sure what that means, other than that they are popular with women.  There were a row of cell phones set up in front of the performers... to... record them?



Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yamanaka Hitoshi (山中準) Exhibition at Gallery Kobo-2 (巷房2) (100202)

As has happened in the past, I found myself standing in front of artwork that I thought looked okay, but something was eluding me, so I stayed still and kept looking - waiting for some thought, feeling, answer... something, and then the artist walked up and explained the thought behind the creation, and then the meaning came flooding in.

With Yamanaka Hitoshi (山中準)'s pictures, the drive behind his creations was a desire to capture something of the few minutes of twilight - that magic time in the evening between day and night.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Kato Emiko (加藤恵美子) - Project-306 Exhibit - (2010/02)

 I walked into room 306 of the Okuno Building - first and foremost - with a sense of reverence for the space itself.  It was formerly occupied by a woman who (I'm told) worked and then lived there for the entire existence of the building - more than seven decades!  She died just over a year ago (at 100 years of age) as the last resident tenant of the building (now it's all either office space or art galleries).  The stories she must have had about living there through everything that happened in that time!  When the building was modern and new (with steam heat, beds that folded down from the walls, a sento in the basement, lounge on the sixth floor, etc.), through the war and the fire-bombing of Tokyo (when the rear of the concrete building suffered some slight fire damage - 306 is in the front of the building, BTW), through the postwar reconstruction, economic boom, and then as the building began to become largely an art gallery building.  I wish I could have talked to her about that history while she was still alive!

In any case, I've not yet introduced Kato Emiko (加藤恵美子)'s art exhibit!  But it's fitting to go into the history of the space, as Project-306, the group renting and preserving the space, is doing so out of respect for the former tenant (I don't remember her name - I'll try to write it down the next time I hear it!), the room & the building, and is as taken with the history of it as I am.
加藤恵美子 / Project-306

The photo above shows one of the group of photos laying on the floor that make up the exhibit - taken sitting on a windowsill in the room.  I wasn't able to meet and talk with the artist, but I've spoken with another member of the Project-306 group several times about the concept of the group.

[100724]: On the subject of the Okuno Building - here are a couple of other posts of mine regarding that fascinating building:

"20-78 - A Look Back in the Okuno Building"

"Ginza Okuno Building Details (July 20th 2010)"

Photos of the Ginza Okuno Building:
奥野ビル -

"Okuno Building - Quick Tour (June 16th, 2010)" (100616-1444)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Zhou Hao (周豪) at Gallery Kobo (巷房) in Ginza (100202)

I walked into Gallery Kobo (巷房) and began contemplating images such as the one on the promotional postcard here:

Fortunately, Zhou Hao (周豪), the artist who created them, was on hand to talk about the art, and we got into a discussion about paper - about how the quality, texture, durability, etc. of paper strongly influences the things we end up writing, drawing, or painting on it.

The paper used for the exhibit was Chinese paper he explained, and is very thin and generally made from bamboo - meant to be written on with a brush, not a sharp-tipped pen.  He said it promoted a careful, soft touch, while tougher paper promotes bolder and harsher strokes.

It makes sense - on the (not very often these days!) occasions when I'm writing something by hand, certainly there is a different feel to it depending on the quality of the paper.  And there's something much more satisfying about writing things by hand... but most of my writing now is - from start to finish - via the keyboard....

The exhibit is in the 3rd floor part of Gallery Kobo (they also have display space in the basement of the same building - the Okuno Building.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Tanaka Aya (田中亜弥) Live in Shinjuku (新宿)" (100202)

One rather cold evening, as I walked up to the west exit of Shinjuku Station, I came upon Tanaka Aya performing live in front of the station.  As you can hear in this video, she has quite a nice voice.

西側の新宿駅前で、ストリート音楽家田中亜弥を聞きました。(平成二十二年二月二日) 東京 (Recorded on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, at 9:50 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Obi Yumiko (小尾裕美子) at Gallery-405" (100202)

Japanese calligraphy is something I always admire, but also feel frustrated about, since no matter how many times I practice writing kanji characters, they never look remotely like those written by an experienced hand.  And so it was with the exhibit at Gallery-405 in the Okuno Building:

Discussing the exhibition with Obi Yumiko (小尾裕美子), she explained in detail the meaning of one of the expressions to me that I would like to explain, but I remember the concept without remembering the exact wording.  Next time I'll ask if it's okay to quote the exhibit and write it down!

In any case, whether you can read the characters or not, they stand on their own as art and are nice to contemplate.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Group Exhibit at Gallery La Mer" (100202)

Gallery La Mer was also having a multi-artist exhibit and I talked with Maeyama Kou for a bit about his art.  It seems he bases his art on various models, but when drawing, goes strictly by memory to avoid the pictures being exact likenesses of the models - thus protecting their privacy.  Which makes sense... and isn't something that works with photography!
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Combination Exhibit at Gallery Serikawa"

Visiting the Okuno Building earlier in the week, I dropped in to see Gallery Serikawa and noted they're having another combination exhibit - with art from various artists.  The picture below was done by Mori Aya (森彩), who went from black & white photography in high school to her black & white drawings:

Gallery Serikawa features a wide range of material at times - from children on up to professional painters.  Their address is as follows:

Gallery Serikawa
1-9-8 Okuno Bldg., B1 (right-side basement)
Ginza, Chuo-ku
Tel & Fax - 03-3535-2007

会場:銀座 芹川画廊

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon