Silly Grins

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ash Gray

Makoto Aida's Ash Color Mountains are really interesting, especially viewed up close for the fine print kind of experience. You'd probably even notice that not all the dead, gray-suited men are Japanese.

See that mountain in the front?

I call it 'Mt. Olympus'. And I'm guessing it's about 40,000 pairs of feet high.

A little confused? You know what he is about, don't you?

"There's something horribly wrong at the top of Olympus."

"They are going backwards and they are not moving quickly enough in closing loss-making businesses, nothing's allowed to fail in Japan. They are not innovating, they treat half their workforce, women, in a way which is to me extremely chauvinistic, never mind women in senior positions in a boardroom, you find very few women at middle management level," he said, describing the outlook for Japan's corporate world as pretty bleak.

Well, what do people think of that other half of the workforce? This fellow apparently thinks Japan opening up to immigrants is the only way. 

So, what about those women? Mmm...

But really... what was the artist thinking? It's almost as if he hates cute in a loving way.

Even though he's a reject, he's still got some kind of fear of mature women. Which he tries to explain.

From the video above:

Q: Can you describe some themes in your work, such as "bishoujo"(young, beautiful girls)?

Aida: Girls... there are certainly many girls. If I respond in an earnest manner, I believe there is an abundance of problematic points in the current generation of Japanese society and Japanese mentality...  Yes...after all... I am not motivated from within to draw mature woman... The reason I do not want to draw mature woman is strange....

As he explains, he mentions Japan losing the war and there being a lack of fatherly figures. Which kind of confuses me as Aida was born in the 60's.  He goes on to talk about how feminine Japan has become.

At one point in the interview (5:25), he mentions a "denial of masculinity"... yet there's the obsession with immature women.

How can Japan have become feminine when women rank so low? Maybe they are not low enough

There's a story that goes something like this:
In the old days... the real old days, a sun goddess was a bit upset when at least one of her maidens was impaled by something, thanks to her uber-destructive brother. So, she shuts herself in a cave and everything begins to die. Kind of like now.

So, there's a big party, people get drunk (and noisy). Then someone flashes her genitalia.
She decides to come back and everything gets better. 

Maybe that's what this place needs. A little of what they fear the most:

All models are over 18. Maybe that's the problem, what makes it 'obscene' while this isn't.

There is irony in what a person like Michael tells everyone that he sees, what it is  was like from his perspective up at the top, he gets ejected from heaven.

Put your trust in them

Aren't elite attitudes a major part of the problem here?

Maybe more people should try to become the greatest artist in the world, starting at the top, like the B-Boy of J-art.



  1. Reminds me of the drama Rich Man, Poor Woman. I wrote a review of it a while back. Couldn't watch more than 2 eps because the dude had an "innovative" company that only employed women who looked like supermodels. I'd have understood if that had been the premise but it was never challenged.

    Love the story of the sun goddess. Reminds me of the Irish goddess who loved flashing it.
    I think a lot of the talk about men becoming feminine is elitist in itself. Middle class men are becoming more feminine but working class guys are hot... I mean really masculine.

    1. The degree to which the mainstream media in Japan is run in a crony-fied manner is mind-boggling. Even for an already boggled mind.

      Uzume was the one who put her goods on display and got a good laugh. Didn't know some Irish goddess liked to do the same thing... a Protestant perhaps?

      Is it more feminine or just weakness that goes along with a certain kind of immaturity? Aida's work reflects a strong kind of prolonged adolescence that shows itself as crass and ultimately destructive, literally eviscerating whatever promises beauty. Kind of hard to stomach it all.

      At least as an outcast, he's free to stick up without getting hammered.

  2. Statement by the general spokesperson for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department:
    "Vaginas are obscene. Well, unless they're covered by cute, pink panties. Those are sublime. Here, check out these upskirt shots on my smartphone..."

    1. Vagina = J-Kryptonite?

      This obscene thing is silly.

      Mapplethorpe's work ran into a few problems once upon a time. A cheeky curator... the rumor is that she said one of his self portraits was considered obscene not because of the content but because of the size.

  3. Though I may enjoy some of Aida's art the man is a lazy, pervy old man.

    As far as men becoming feminine, it's kind of happening here in the states. At least in fashion. The high school boys now are wearing pants so tight they almost look like girls. This trickles on out of high school and into their adult lives where guys are busy flat ironing their hair and tweezing their eye brows.

    As for the fascination with young girls in Japan, I kinda don't get it. Turkey is that way too but with a twist. They like young American girls... because their young girls are put up on pedestals and have to stay virginal for marriage or some nonsense. But a single, young American girl is pretty much talked to and treated as a lady of the night.

    1. Pervy... yeah. But lazy? He sure puts a lot of effort into his work. Do you mean lazy in terms of not bothering to think outside the box? He spent a good part of a year in New York only to come up with this.

      High school fashion... can't really comment on that. Sound like the Rod Stewart look is making a comeback on the west coast. Last time I was back, everyone seemed to be saggy and baggy.

      Vestal young girls in Japan... this AK thing is twisted. Yeah, I don't get it either. I don't want to get it.

      The Turkish take on American girls... thank Hollywood?

    2. Hollywood is good at painting American's as they see fit.

      Lazy... Now I may get a ration of shit for saying this. But Aida seems to have a habit of blaming things on his ADHD... I mean really. Sounds like a cop out. It's like he is going through the artist motions half ass because he has ADHD. I do think that his work can be quite time consuming and tedious. Maybe having worked with children with 'disabilities' like ADHD has jaded me to people that use it as an excuse for the way they are or the way they do things.

    3. Thank you for your thoughts.

      He does talk about not being able to sit at a desk being due to ADHD. While I am in awe of what he does and disturbed by what he is doing, that 'cop out' feeling comes through. He does seem to be simply going with the flow by taking that which he understands to be 'pure' and 'beautiful' and turning it into something grotesque; no suit or desk required for that. He separates, he sorts, he stacks. He work is extremely chauvinistic.

      Japan tends to be fairly efficient in wasting wonderful potential. Despite gross mismanagement, Olympus survives thanks, in part, to those who ended up dedicating their lives to technology geared toward health and wellbeing.