“Graffiti Japan” is a new book that comprehensively documents Japan’s exploding street art scene through images and interviews.
Mark Batty Publisher, a leader in distinctive books covering the graphic and communication arts, has released the first book to take readers on such a comprehensive and intimate tour of Japan’s burgeoning graffiti movement. Written and photographed by Remo Camerota, “Graffiti Japan” provides a revealing Japanese perspective on a conventionally Western tradition.
Japan has long been a breeding ground for innovative angles and perceptions on Western traditions, such as movies and baseball. The fanatical acceptance of streetscape graffiti in Japan has torn the art form away from its Western roots and has given it a national identity of its own. “Graffiti Japan” documents that evolution with a multitude of photographs, artist interviews and author commentary.
The photographs in “Graffiti Japan” feature a wide range of graffiti styles, settings and subject matter, including sprawling commissioned murals and illegal art in hidden spots that feature anime and manga characters, kanji and much more.
According to Camerota, the seeds for the book were sewn during his first trip to Japan to meet the graffiti artist SUIKO, who had him “crawling around in places no one would ever think to go looking for graffiti.” Subsequent interviews with SUIKO and others who have given themselves such names as TENGA, QP, KRESS, BELX2, FATE and EMAR reveal how these artists define their work as distinctively Japanese, musing on everything from foreign influences, national pride and public perceptions, to replicating the calligraphic intricacies of the Japanese language with spray paint.
“Even legalized projects do not get much attention unless we do something attractive or big,” comments TENGA in one of the book’s many interviews. “It seems that passersby think that drawing with spray cans equals vandalism.”
When asked about his inspirations, the artist called QP said, “It can be an object, a person, a building, a tiny space between walls, a scent, an aroma, temperature, a feeling, a tree. Inspiration comes out of the blue. The trigger can be anything and everything around. You can’t choose. You just get it.”
“Graffiti Japan” from Remo Camerota will release September 2008 and you will be able to get it from Mark Batty Publishers.