Reconstruction: Esm-Artificial

Research on Esm-artificial is still in progress.  It is still a constant struggle to find documentation of work and inspiration.  This being said, it seems as though I have found something to work off.  It became quite evident to me that Mr. Sakurai is strongly influenced by music.[1]  This developed into his growing and flourishing interest in pop art.  Since I am not very familiar with the music from this era I thought it would be beneficial to listen to the artist he enjoys and finds inspiration from.  I also began to look at album covers and artwork affiliated with these artist and a connection is beginning to emerge.  Much of Sakurai’s works seems to resemble album art from this era.  Much of his work involves the tonal technique stipple which can be related to Yayoi Kusama’s work.  His work is very simplistic and full of emotions.  This can be related to the beautiful work of Yoko Ono.  Also a lot of his pop culture figures that he chooses to depict in his art were hard for me to recognize.  For the majority of people from the 80’s, it would be an easy task.

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Project II: Reconstruction

Esm-artificial creates many works manipulating different techniques and materials.  I chose to recreate and explore the process of his cigar cedar sheets.[2]  Firstly I began looking for evidence and documentation of the process and materials used but there was nothing to be found.  As a result, I personally investigated the work to understand his process.  By looking at the image carefully, I was able identify multiple layers of colour.  This made it apparent that Kenn Sakurai produce a print, possibly a block print but most likely a silkscreen print.  I chose to reconstruct the image using block printing techniques with softoleum.  It is obviously printed on a wood sheet, which I found differed from many of his other works.  Like Sakurai, I have also produced many silk screen prints and block prints on paper.  I thought this print in particular would be more of a challenge to me.  This way I could mimic the experimental process to explore new mediums as Sakurai does in this work.

The first step in the reconstruction process was to trace the original image.  This way I would be able to imitate the process of creating and drawing the design.  After doing this I transferred the traced image onto the block of softoleum.  One layer at a time I cut out the area that I didn’t want printed.  First was a simple pink circle.  Next I cut out the word asleep.  By doing this, the areas cut out will remain pink.  I then printed the colour green on top.  After I cut out the word sound and printed the black layer, the image was complete.  It is a very simple process.

This was not my first print so I did not learn a lot about the physical process and practice of printing.  What I did learn was how his art transforms with every layer.  Many of his prints are one layer, but to add more visual appeal he includes more layers.  As I compare his work to other street artist I noticed it is not as much about the concept but rather its appearance on a consumer basis.  Unlike Banksy who embeds messages about societal issues and world struggles, Sakurai produced pop art that is visually appealing.  If he has a message usually it isn’t very deep, but rather easily understood.  They are often lessons to live by with a comedic or blunt twist.  This process of printing is a fairly easy and fast method to produce multiple and identical prints for consumers.  I realized this after I replicated the process.  This reconstruction also reminded me how hard it is to properly render the layers on top of one another.  It makes me respect the craft that a skilled and experienced artist has such as esm-artificial.