At the last post, I introduced about a young Japanese artist, U-die. His 110cm wide 116 cm long art piece of ‘Marilyn Monroe’ is composed with delicate mosaic work. The mosaic is actually made by Manga with a story of Marilyn Monroe. U-die carefully puts a piece of cartoon together in a way that a part of illastrations structures Marilyn’s face parts and hairs.
U-die, Saitama prefecture based artist, was interested in artwork with gimmickry like double image for some time, in which some small pieces of photos and illustrations are put together and form other larger artwork.
His interest was beyond just putting small mosaic together. He wanted to find a way to create a relation between the small pieces constructing the large image and the created image.
The idea of using a cartoon came from his hobby. He started using a frame of cartoon as a piece of mosaic. With this, he can put an episode of portrayed person in the cartoon and make a connection to the portrait.
His first art piece that he created with this style was when he was a university student. He chose Osamu Tezuka (手塚治虫) as the first motif of portrait. Osamu Tezuka is a legendary Japanese cartoonist, who created world well-known manga series such as Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, Black Jack. U-die wanted to show his respect to the king of Manga if he is going to uses cartoon for the mosaic piece.
U-die creates a story of cartoon based on a true episode of the portrayed character. Then, he lets cartoon personalities talk about the portrayed character without mentioning the name. A reader will finally grasp who the cartoon personas are talking about after going through the story to the end. That is why the series of portrait including Marilyn Monroe is named as “アレについてのムダ話 (An empty talk about that person)”. By now, the story of cartoon is only written in Japanese, but I hope one day U-die will create a work in English!
The creation process is quite elaborate. He firstly outputs outline and text of cartoon on paper or canvas, then colors on it by pencil, marker and acrylic painting.
You can see and purchase some of U-die’s work at Yoshiaki Inoue Gallery in Osaka. If you have a chance, go and visit the gallery.
At the next post, I will introduce some more work of U-die, so stay tuned….