Japan x LACMA x Los Feliz Library

Art museums and libraries have always fascinated me – the depth of information, the fusion of pasts, presents and futures. When I was a youngster, my mother, artist Hilda Garcia, would frequently take my brothers and I to museums and art/music events. So when LACMA’s education department asked me to conduct ongoing, year-round arts workshops in libraries as part of Art Programs with the Community: LACMA On-Site, I was very enthusiastic imagining the endless possibilities of working with libraries and LACMA’s amazing collections as resources!  For my current workshops at Los Feliz Library, I chose to create arts workshops focusing on Hokusai’s well-known prints The Great Wave off Kanagawa and South Wind, Clear Dawn (“Red Fuji”) as well as the “Waterfall” print series currently on view in LACMA’s Pavilion for Japanese Art.

Katsushika Hokusai (Japan, 1760-1849), South Wind, Clear Dawn, circa 1830-31, Color woodblock print, Image and Paper: 10 x 14 3/8 in. (25.4 x 36.5 cm), Gift of the Frederick R. Weisman Company, Photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA

Katsushika Hokusai (Japan, 1760-1849), South Wind, Clear Dawn, circa 1830-31, Color woodblock print, Image and Paper: 10 x 14 3/8 in. (25.4 x 36.5 cm), Gift of the Frederick R. Weisman Company, Photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA

The high-school students at Los Feliz Library created artworks inspired by Hokusai’s prints, contemporary Japanese art, and manga, using mixed media to create their own narrative-based artworks.

Art Programs with the Community: LACMA On-Site, Los Feliz Library

Art Programs with the Community: LACMA On-Site, Los Feliz Library

I chose to focus on Hokusai’s artwork for two main reasons. First, I noticed that the high-school students who are part of the Los Feliz Library art workshops are very interested in Japanese manga/anime and its roots. And secondly, I chose Hokusai for the simplicity and elegance in his work, as well as its narrative qualities. His work has been used as inspiration by many artists and connects to contemporary manga and “Superflat” art in Japan. For the workshop, I checked out books from the Los Feliz Library on Hokusai, and I brought in examples of artworks by contemporary Japanese artists such as Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Murakami, Chinatsu Ban, and others who  are deeply inspired by Hokusai and the Japanese anime and manga art.

Katsushika Hokusai (Japan, 1760-1849), Amida Falls on the Kiso Highway, circa 1833, Color woodblock print, Image and sheet: 14 ¾ x 9 15/16 in. (37.5 x 25.2 cm), Gift of Max Palevsky, Photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA

Katsushika Hokusai (Japan, 1760-1849), Amida Falls on the Kiso Highway, circa 1833, Color woodblock print, Image and sheet: 14 ¾ x 9 15/16 in. (37.5 x 25.2 cm), Gift of Max Palevsky, Photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA

Japanese Prints: Hokusai at LACMA is now in its final days: it closes this Sunday.

Gustavo Alberto Garcia Vaca, Artist

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