By David Bull & Jed Henry
A Canadian woodblock printer and American Ukiyo-e artist bringing Japanese gaming heroes to life with a traditional Japanese twist
Ukiyo-e is a form of art originating in Japan during the Edo period. The striking designs of the bold compositions and absence of shadows are characteristic to this uniquely Japanese style of painting that has amassed fans from around the world. While perspective plays a role in the composition of a piece, what also makes this style unique is the tendency to draw background figures in a larger fashion in a way that almost goes against what one might expect. Ukiyo-e is often used as historical reference material for the scenes captured, depictions of altered or no-longer existing famous locations, and the showcasing of lifestyles, jobs, and cultures of the past. In and amongst the historical connotations of this art form is an Ukiyo-e artist who decorates his canvases with characters from modern video games. He goes by the name of Jed Henry. As this Japanophile of an American began his project to depict Japanese video game characters (and other pop culture references) in the style of Ukiyo-e, a certain woodblock printer, named David Bull, made a proposal to him to join forces.
David Bull is a Canadian who was captivated by the Japanese-style of woodblock printing, and has since made a name for himself as a renowned woodblock printer. He is also popular amongst overseas tourists for the business he operates in Asakusa that sells woodblock prints and also offers the chance to experience woodblock print-making as well.
Ukiyo-e were once creations painted by hand; however, they generally refer to woodblock-printed paintings. The Ukiyo-e compositions are drawn by Jed, and then finished as woodblock-prints by David. These compositions are part of a series known as “Ukiyo-e Heroes” and have taken the world by storm, garnering fans from far and wide.
Six pieces from Ukiyo-e Heroes have been chosen to feature in the Foreword Gallery. We hope you enjoy the works of art as much as we do!
“Ukiyo-e is often used as historical reference materialfor the scenes captured, depictions of altered or no-longer existing famous locations, and the showcasing of lifestyles, jobs, and cultures of the past.