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Graffiti Japan [Hardcover]

Remo Camerota , KRESS
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 Sep 2008
Japan has always been a breeding ground for innovative approaches to Western traditions, such as cinema and baseball. Another example includes graffiti, which covers the buildings and walls of Japans largest cities, as well as the more rural areas. While graffiti in Japan shares many of the same characteristics with examples from other parts of the world, distinct cultural aspects of Japan, from Kanji to popular anime characters, set Japanese graffiti apart. Tokyo-based photographer Remo Camerota has captured these culturally unique aspects of Japanese graffiti, and in doing so has befriended some of the countrys major graffiti artists. Colorful spreads and intimate interviews provide a detailed examination of Japanese graffiti, a subject that has yet to dominate the graffiti book market.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Mark Batty Publisher (22 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979048672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979048678
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 21.3 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,302,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strikingly beautiful 22 Sep 2008
By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
When I was teaching high school in the Los Angeles area in the early 1990s the subject of graffiti was contentious. People on the right saw it as defacing public and private property and promoting illegal lifestyles. Those on the left tended to be more tolerant. I had some taggers in my classroom, one of whom was very talented. I had him to do a magazine style report on "writing." It was very good. But I was advised by a colleague not to "reward" such behavior. I found it interesting that KRESS in his introduction states that he began writing "around 1994 and was influenced by the graffiti in Los Angeles."

It seemed to me at first that "bombing" was just marking territory such as when a tiger sprays his domain. And perhaps that was the case. But today many of the taggers are artists, and some are not only very talented, but hardworking and creative. Remo Camerota, who is originally from Australia, took thousands of photos of graffiti in some of the major cities of Japan while befriending and working with local artists. The result is this beautiful compilation.

I had to use a magnifying glass on some of the artwork. There is a lot of intricate detail in Japanese graffiti and a clear emphasis on color. I liked the flow and the movement of the writing. The style is bold and expressive with hints of something underlying and secret. Remo says that he would not have been able to find a lot of the graffiti without the help of the writers who showed him their hidden places.

The way the book is put together with interviews with the various writers along with glossy photos of their work brings to life not only the world of the writing "crews" but of modern Japan itself. Each city has its own scene and style according to KRESS.
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4.0 out of 5 stars WOW! 17 Jan 2009
Format:Hardcover
Some of the Graffiti in this book is amazing i am a fan of it and i love going around and finding amazing graffiti and photographing it. This book is definitely a good compilation of photos and small biogs and facts here and there although the book is mainly photographs which is not a bad thing. You can clearly see the culture come out through the Graffiti with one of the photos being the Elk out of a Studio Ghibli movie. I would recommend you buy this if you are at all interested in Japans street art!
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly beautiful 22 Sep 2008
By Dennis Littrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When I was teaching high school in the Los Angeles area in the early 1990s the subject of graffiti was contentious. People on the right saw it as defacing public and private property and promoting illegal lifestyles. Those on the left tended to be more tolerant. I had some taggers in my classroom, one of whom was very talented. I had him to do a magazine style report on "writing." It was very good. But I was advised by a colleague not to "reward" such behavior. I found it interesting that KRESS in his introduction states that he began writing "around 1994 and was influenced by the graffiti in Los Angeles."

It seemed to me at first that "bombing" was just marking territory such as when a tiger sprays his domain. And perhaps that was the case. But today many of the taggers are artists, and some are not only very talented, but hardworking and creative. Remo Camerota, who is originally from Australia, took thousands of photos of graffiti in some of the major cities of Japan while befriending and working with local artists. The result is this beautiful compilation.

I had to use a magnifying glass on some of the artwork. There is a lot of intricate detail in Japanese graffiti and a clear emphasis on color. I liked the flow and the movement of the writing. The style is bold and expressive with hints of something underlying and secret. Remo says that he would not have been able to find a lot of the graffiti without the help of the writers who showed him their hidden places.

The way the book is put together with interviews with the various writers along with glossy photos of their work brings to life not only the world of the writing "crews" but of modern Japan itself. Each city has its own scene and style according to KRESS.

This isn't your father's graffiti. These artists have taken tagging to an entirely new level in terms of artistic expression and achievement. The photography in this book serves not only to show us the art, which will weather and eventually disappear, but to capture it for generations to come.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and reinterpreting a Western art form 29 Sep 2008
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
GRAFFITI JAPAN is another fine book on contemporary art and design from Mark Batty Publisher. As with all of their books this volume addresses art in a specific place and assures the reader/viewer that the cultural background of that location is woven throughout this richly illustrated volume to add to the pleasure of encountering fresh art forms as a meaningful experience.

Remo Camerota, an artist and photographer, traveled to Japan, not knowing the language but with a desire to study and understand what makes Japanese graffiti unique. In a vivid introduction he paints the scene for his visit and after his preface he turns to one of the graffiti artists (KRESS) to open the path for examining Japanese graffiti. Fifteen graffiti artists are presented in full-color reproductions of their art and the variations among these artists' works are gradually identifiable through the superb photographs, most of them by the author and investigator Camerota. As each artist is reviewed a conversation with Camerota is presented and this writing is both sensitive and humorous, and always shaped by the honest convictions of each artist's intent. The book then approaches the graffiti as it differs among four cities - Hiroshima, Osaka, Kanagawa and Tokyo.

That is the background description for this book. But the importance of the volume lies in the fully saturated illustrations and design that allows the viewer to appreciate graffiti in a completely new light. The quality of art from these street artists is pristine in execution, highly innovative in design (there is a major influence of one of Japan's own contributions to the art world - anime), and in many ways competes with the huge murals that have long been a part of our universal artistic heritage. Japanese graffiti artists may have 'borrowed' the concept of graffiti art from the USA, but the works represented in his magnificently illustrated volume are uniquely their own. This is a beautiful book that not only dazzles with color and design, but also makes for a terrific nidus for roundtable discussion on the role of graffiti as an art form. This book IS art! Highly recommended for students and art collectors alike. Grady Harp, September 08
5.0 out of 5 stars Interviews with notable taggers and color visual images of their art 12 Dec 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Japan has long been known for taking Western culture and adding innovative, unique twists ... but graffiti has taken a distinctly different route away from its western origins, infusing Japanese culture more deeply than other art forms - and GRAFFITI JAPAN reveals these differences, offering up interviews with notable taggers and color visual images of their art. Whether you view graffiti as vandalism or public art, GRAFFITI JAPAN offers college-level art libraries and those strong in Japanese history and culture a fine survey of Japanese artists and purposes.
3.0 out of 5 stars So-So 15 Jun 2014
By Michael P. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is alright, but it focuses too much on the images. Those pictures are amazing but there wasn't much to the writing that went with them.
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Worth A Look! 31 Dec 2013
By Zendicant Penguin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a review of the softbound edition which differs slightly from the hardbound in the end cover artwork which, in this edition, is comprised of a couple of gate-fold leaves. The format is slightly different but I suspect that all of the artwork is included in either edition.

When I stumbled upon this book I thought I had made a thrilling discovery as a casual glance through this roughly 10 x 8.5 inch book in approx. 143 pps. makes it clear the author knows how to take a picture, and also that the publishers have done their job of reproduction well; surprising for a book printed in China (a closer look at the paper and reproductions confirms the quality is not great, but is above average; atypical for made in china).

As to the featured graffiti: As good as anything anywhere, one suspects, and some sublime.

An issue with the book not entirely the fault of the author is a dearth of text and textual analysis. Doubtless, a language barrier issue looms large here. One does wish the author had developed a more encompassing dialogue or explication of the topic by more and varied questioning of his showcased artists.

While he does ask questions of a number of the featured artists the questions and answers are not fully developed.

The idea of a Japanese identity is and has been a central theme in Japan's intellectual history. A discussion of Takashi Murakami's Super-Flat manifesto, which is a continuation of this long discussion, and speculating on how it may intertwine with Japanese Grafitti art could have been fascinating even if described very simply.
For instance an absolutely brilliant work found on pps. 16-17 IS a byobu or gold leaf screen, the most famous of which help to define the Japanese identity. Its presence screams out to be explained as something more than a graffiti drawing. Other really clever uses of classical motifs play in many of the works found in the book, as well as the more modern Japanese tropes (which Have taken their place within Murakami's Super-Flat perspective).

I suppose the majority of taggers, bombers, graffitists are pretty much just knuckleheads whose scrawls are similar to infantile cries for attention, so one might argue it is pointless to even begin the conversation.

On the other hand, graffiti as art form, political expression, vandalism, and mindless activity have existed for a very long time and latterly graffitti artists have risen to great fame and fortune (haring, banksy, et al.) for doing it. The author scratches the surface of this most pregnant topic by asking the obligatory question of whether the artists' works of graffiti are viewed as vandalism, but does not pursue the matter when met with demurral.

I believe there is a shadow line between eye candy and public defacement where graffiti takes on some meaning as artwork and I don't mean just the visually arresting...at some point Haring's or Banksy's works go from being grafitti to decoration to something approaching the world of fine art, no?

Perhaps it was the author's intent to ignore this topic, in which case it begs the question: What is the point? That, my friend, is exactly what I'm talking about.

Still, this book is definitely worth a look.
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