Ukiyo-e are literally pictures of “The Floating World”— that grand universe of Geisha, Samurai, gangsters, Kabuki actors…all revolving around a special, segmented area of Edo (old Tokyo) called the Yoshiwara. Many of the pre-Yakuza films were situated in this majestic, delicate and sometimes dangerous universe. Startings in the 1600′s, the Yoshiwara continued until the 1950′s as a cultural, fashion and business hub.
The images of this world gave great inspiration to many artists, writers, and creative thinkers. As they continue to, in my world and the worlds created to house my characters, stories and dreams.
Pictured here are some of my favorite Ukiyo-e, wood block prints featuring strange imagery from the Japanese underworld, the “floating” or “willow world” and some mystical elements as well. Today you can see these scenes often played out in the detailed traditonal Japanese tattoo art called ”Irezumi”, which often adorn many of the “actors” in my art.