I am an artist and graphic designer with a focus on self publishing as creative practice. I am a part of OOMK collective and am an artist is residence as Somerset House Studios. I have a interest in how self publishing supports communities and co-founded and co-run Rabbits Road Press community Risograph studio.
My intention for my visit was is gain an understanding of the self- publishing culture in Toyko, to visit print spaces and to collect a small library of books to make available for reference at my studio.
On my last day I visited the paper showroom for TAKEO papers in Jinbocho in Tokyo. The space had a huge range of their papers available to sample as well as a collection of hand bound and hand made books with bookmaking tools on display. This was a really striking (and orderly!) space and pushed me to think about the availability of materials and how this can shape self publishing and design outcomes.
These are only my highlights of the trip! And I will be linking projects generated from this trip on this blog in the new year.
On my fourth day I visited 21_21 design gallery in Hinokicho Park, Minato-ku in Tokyo. I was really happy to collect so much graphic printed matter from the gallery to add to a growing collection of Japanese print work for my archive. Whilst they did not have a show on print at the time of my visit, I saw a really interactive and lively show bringing to life the fashion design work of Chisato Tsumori. I found the energy of this show to be very reflective of the playful, engaging and character filled content that seems to dominate much of of the commercial visuals in Japan. I really enjoyed this show and its many interactive elements.
I also was lucky to catch Awakenings: Art and Society in Asia 1960s-1990s at the National Museum of modern art Tokyo which i feel gave me a very relevant backdrop and context to the art being made in Japan today. I again was able to document graphic posters and collect printed matter to add to my growing visual vocabulary of print design from Japan.
On my third day in Tokyo I had a full day for visitied book stores. A special visit was to Utrect – an independent art book shop with zines and small exhibition space. They also curate zine and self publishing fairs. Their range of publications was really broad with lots I recognised from the UK(!) but also a good range of Japan based work which seemed to be photography focused. I collected several publications for reference here.
Rhythm and Books store in Shibuya had a really great selection of Japanese novels that I found to be so beautifully printed and illustrated so often. The use of glossy book jackets and belly bands was a really common (and cute time) feature that I enjoyed and intend to research a little more.
On my second day I met with Tokyo born and based artist Minami. She is an illustrator trained in CSM in London. She makes zines and books as a large part of her practice and I bought several of these for our library in Rabbit Road press. She brought me to her screen printing studio Surutoko in Shinigawa in Tokyo. They had a large selection of books and an incredible set up of equipment which really helped to inform how I could develop Rabbits Road Press.
I spent the first day meeting Tokyo based artist Zudana who talked about places to visit and gave me help and advice on getting around with the Tokyo Suica travel card! We met in Shibuya and visited a cafe and magazine reference library called Freeman Cafe. The collection was international with a lot of Japanese content too and was great introduction to seeing print culture in a casual setting.