Jun Mochizuki

Cover 14 of 'Pandora Hearts'

Kicking off her professional manga career when she was only a student, Japanese manga writer and illustrator Jun Mochizuki got into the manga profession in 2005 with her debut manga ‘Crimson Shell’.

In 2006 Mochizuki’s manga work ‘Pandora Hearts’ was published. This ongoing manga that has a clever intricate plot line and its characters (both protagonists and antagonists) are heavily based on dark sometimes-twisted versions of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Looking Glass’ characters. This manga series is ongoing and also was popular enough to warrant an anime adaptation of the first Volume, Chap 1 and ending on Volume 8, Chap 32.

Her artwork consists of  “crisp, clean illustrations” where the “Facial expressions reveal every emotion the characters are feeling”. This I can agree with as a fan of ‘Pandora Hearts’ because when the characters are angry or hurt, you can feel it through the illustrations; it can be truly heart wrenching.

At the moment Mochizuki is working both on ‘Pandora Hearts’ and ‘Boukyaku no Haou’ although she only works on the art and not the story for ‘Boukyaku no Haou’.

You can look up Mochizuki’s work at: http://myanimelist.net/people/3483/Jun_Mochizuki

You can read her blog online here: http://3choume.blog78.fc2.com/

(Although, like Yana Toboso’s blog, it is in Japanese, and Google translate isn’t the best but it’s really one of the only options)

And you can read the review for ‘Crimson Shell’ that I quoted from here: http://www.mangamaniaccafe.com/?p=3596

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John Stezaker

Marriage (Film Portrait Collage) XLV by John Stezaker

John Stezaker is an English conceptual artist who specializes in collage. Stezaker attended London’s Slade School of Art and he has had over 24 exhibitions and shows during his career.

His works are generally portraits or profile pictures made out of famous people’s publicity photos or pictures from books, postcards, screenshots from films, and magazines, Stezaker splices these images together to form almost a whole new person. This style is very striking and also quite unnerving as he has pieced his works together in such a way that at first glance they almost look like an ordinary person’s profile picture.

His works have not been limited to just making human faces out of other human faces, he has also used various landscapes and other found images that he has layered over a portrait photograph and somehow you can make out an almost human face. These surreal images; both the ones using just people and the ones incorporating landscapes are truly unsettling as they are almost something out of ‘Frankenstein’ and the landscape collages are even creepier.

His works are also aided by the human brain’s need to make things match and oddly enough, recognize faces out of vague patterns (which is why there are many people who claim they have seen Jesus on toast or in dry mould).

Visit his Saatchi Gallery profile at:

http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/john_stezaker.htm

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Modernism & Postmodernism Part 2

One argument however, isn’t vague at all and can date the end of Modernism to the minute. According to Charles Jencks, you can date the death of the modern movement not just to the decade or to the year, but to the minute; when the ‘Pruitt-Igoe’ apartment complex was demolished at 3 PM on March 16, 1972 to be precise.

At the time of its creation architectural magazines went crazy over such a masterpiece and it won awards. Unfortunately the tenants caused the place to become rather run down. And because of this, “major structural alterations” where needed, and by that they mean they demolished it. So with the fall of the ‘Pruitt-Igoe’ apartments was the fall of Modernism. Though I’m sure people will argue about that as well.

The modernism and postmodernism date quote I acquired from: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/214493.html

And you can view the ‘Trouble in Utopia’ sequence at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd7VOz_Wstg

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Modernism & Postmodernism

The fall of 'Pruitt-Igoe' - "Trouble in Utopia"

It seems that this will also be a rather difficult blog entry, so I apologize if none of this makes much sense… but to be fair, Modernism and Postmodernism are very complex subjects and don’t really make much sense themselves.

I have been searching the net for hours for something I could write about Modernism or Postmodernism, and so far all I have found are many different definitions of both movements (some correlating and some completely different) and lots of supposed ‘start’ and ‘end’ dates. Which has led me to the conclusion that perhaps no one knows when or indeed what Modernism and Postmodernism is.

As I mentioned before, many people have speculated on the year or even being as vague as to the century that both movements started and finished in. an example of this is: “Modernism began in the 1890s and lasted till about 1945. Postmodernism began after the Second World War, especially after 1968” that is rather specific and sounds like a definite answer but unfortunately there are people who will argue with this statement and point out an artist or artwork that disproves the statement.

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Semiotics – How we read the world Part 2

Both versions of signage follow the same rule – the signifier (the image or word itself) and the signified (the meaning of the word or image). An example of this is a ‘Push’ sign on a door, when you see the word on the door you know that to open this door you must push it. Another example is the ‘no smoking’ signs that consist of a cigarette with a red circle and line through it. You take note of the image, process the meaning and react accordingly by either not smoking or putting out their cigarette.

My blog entry probably doesn’t make much sense and really doesn’t go into as much detail as it could but if I did it would be a very very long blog entry, so if you are really interested in semiotics I suggest you visit http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/semiotic.html

I warn you now, it’s a long long read.

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Semiotics – How we read the world

Various road signs both with writing and just pictures

Semiotics is a very large and confusing subject that can’t really be easily explained but I plan on attempting to explain just one part; I’m going to be focusing on signs – both written and picture form.

Signs are everywhere, from signs with written instructions to basic pictures. Signs with words such as a door sign with ‘open’ or ‘push’ are generally easy to understand but do have disadvantages such as not understanding the language the sign is written in or being too young to understand the sign. Some signs would be far too big or complicated if they were written out when the same message can be said using a simple easy to read picture.

There are signs that can be read across the board by everyone in the world regardless of what language they speak or what country they are in. these signs are generally wordless and consist of pictures. We are taught what most signs mean at a very early age, we even pick some of these up before we learn the words for them, for instance we are taught very quickly what things are bad or harmful – the colour red means bad so if a picture has a red ring around it or has a cross through it then that is probably bad or dangerous.

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Stina Persson

a watercolour by Stina Persson

Most people have probably come across Swedish illustrator Stina Persson’s work even if they hadn’t realized it as her work has been commissioned by many well-known companies such as ‘Sony Music’, ‘Coca Cola’, ‘Atlantic Records’, and the department store ‘Macy’s’.

Persson’s educational background took her all over the word, from taking fine art and fashion in Italy,  to taking illustration in New York and is now based in Sweden doing freelance work.

Her works have been described as “elegant and feminine” by her American manager, which is true even though her work is ‘messy’ it holds a certain elegance to it, which would explain why so many women’s magazines; like ‘Elle’ commission her work.

With her work itself she uses a variety of different materials, ink, watercolours, paper cutting, acrylic and using photographs. Her work generally follows the same ‘accidental’ style as if her materials have been knocked over and these artworks have been made by chance.

Stina herself has described work today as “much too slick today”, even her own work is cleaned digitally to match the desired commission idea. For a solo show at Gallery Hanahou called ‘Perfectly Flawed’ Stina created works that weren’t ‘tutched up’ digitally and all the mistakes where on show. Persson stated herself that “After a while you begin to censor yourself, so it’s good for me to do art like this”.

You can read her blog and see her work at:

http://www.stinapersson.com/

Quotes taken from a review of the ‘Perfectly Flawed’ show:

http://www.nordstjernan.com/news/east/2631/

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