Monday, 27 August 2012

Tokyo Exhibition

Today's the first day of my show in Tokyo, this promises to be an interesting week!

Half the show is focused on my forthcoming picture book "Jack to Mame no Ki" (Jack and the Beanstalk), showing original artwork from the book such as this:

and this:

The Gallery has produced some fabulous limited edition prints, these two images from the book, each with a print run of 20, will be available through the Space Yui online shop even after the close of the show.

In addition to the book artwork I'm exhibiting two large originals from the Art Print Japan/Disney collaboration, which some may remember I showed on the blog a while back:

The remainder of the show consists of a profusion of smaller pieces specially created for the exhibition, many of them developed from sketches I've previously posted on the blog, such as these:

Together with some new drawings like this:

Finally the gallery has also created some T-Shirts from images for my book on Michelangelo's David, which is actually still in production! The T-Shirts and all the images except the 'Jack' artwork are for sale. I'm extremely grateful for all the tremendous support and help given by the dedicated gallery staff.

So there's something for everyone. If you're in Tokyo this week do drop in!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Adventures with a Pen

Announcing my Exhibition in Aoyama, Tokyo.

Adventures with a Pen
John Shelley exhibition
27th August-1st September
At Space Yui
(nearest station - Gaienmae)

Recent voyages with my trusty companions, Mr Pen and Mr Ink. On our intrepid journey we wandered from the land of fable to the land of illusion, three travellers across a landscape of paper and imagination. 

The show will include illustrations from the forthcoming book ジャックと豆の木 Jack to Mame no Ki (Jack and the Beanstalk), plus original art for sale, T-Shirts and limited edition prints.

I'll be in the gallery from around midday most days. Please drop by and say hello!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Tokyo Summer

As some may know, I'm back in Tokyo all through the summer, to organise an exhibition (more on that shortly), run a workshop for SCBWI Tokyo on the 19th, see as many old friendly faces as possible, and basically to just re-connect with my former home of 21 years.

It's very good to be back, even though school holidays dictate daughter and I are here at the hottest time of year. Most people here can't understand why I would want to come back to Japan while the Olympics are on in London, and in this heat. Fortunately I love the Japanese summer. There's a unique ambience to the city at this time of year, things slow down, less bustle, more time for contemplation.

Last night I dreamed that Tokyo was like an ice cream slowly melting in the heat. In reality it's not exactly as cool as ice cream, and it's the people who feel melted, not the city.

I always have a lot to contemplate when I come back here, most of it connected to the sudden death of my wife in 2007 and subsequent decision to return to the UK. Maki's presence is always with me, but never more so than when I tread the familiar streets of Tokyo. The comfort of intimate knowledge here pulls me back. This still feels like home,  it's like an old familiar musical instrument that you can just lose yourself in, make beautiful sounds with. I don't feel the same connection with anywhere in the UK, even after 5 years back there. It's definitely time to move on from the past and become more enthusiastic with life in England.

It's been 2 years since I was in Tokyo last, this has been the longest time away from Japan since I lived here. Some things have changed, superficially the shops in Shibuya and other places, but still it's the same old city. One thing that has surprised me is the invisibility of the Tsunami and Fukushima in Tokyo. Outside the under-reported demos, Tokyo just carries on as it always has, last years' disaster is almost completely invisible. Such stoicism and willingness to "stay calm and carry on " is both reassuring and worrying. People are willing enough to relate their memories of the earthquake, but no-one generally talks about the ongoing problem of Fukushima. There's a sense of resignment, of helpless resentment in the face of challenges. The government has never listened much to the wishes of the people in the past, so the mechanism for effective dissent is underdeveloped, there are plenty of opinions, but most people stay on the wings. There is much talk of the nuclear issue of course, yesterday was the anniversary of Hiroshima, there was much on the TV, some comparisons with Nuclear energy in Japan today. The media is covering the issues to a point.

But generally, life just carries on as it always has. Hot, sultry, vibrant and determined. If Tokyo melts it won't be due to sunshine. Despite the mixed emotions and loneliness coming back here I'm enjoying Tokyo immensely, though I am missing the euphoria of the London Olympics a bit. Unless you watch things live (late at night) Japanese TV only shows the progress of Japanese athletes, so I've only seen snippets of the Olympics. Oh well, can't have everything.