Tokyo Real #3


Energy was my theme to start the new Viewpoints 9: Living Planet series. Selecting a word that is open ended and provides a variety of interpretations is difficult sometimes, but energy can go so many ways. For me, it brought to mind solar energy, positive energy, hopped-up on caffeine energy, young children energy, to name a few - - ultimately settling on something I've visited before, urban energy. For years I've been intrigued by the sight of the busy intersections in Tokyo - from photos my son had shown me or one of my favorite movies, "Lost in Translation". The throbbing urban sounds of Shibuya, filled with lights and the hum of raw energy captured my imagination.

When I had the opportunity to visit Tokyo last January, I was ready with my camera, eager to catch that magical sight. I took loads of quick snapshots of the signs and buildings just for inspiration - I probably could have taken a thousand more - and they were the groundwork for "Tokyo Real #3"

*An aside - I always thought that the lights and signs in Tokyo seemed so unique and unusual. In the moment, standing there, I put together (duh) the reason was that Japanese text is vertical, and hence the signs are, too. If you look at Times Square, the signage is often rectangular creating a totally different visual cityscape. Interesting the obvious things you don't consider...

I cropped and collaged a number of photos to create a hyper-energetic cityscape pattern (below).

After studying my "pattern" for a while, panic ensued....It wasn't really something that would translate into my usual techniques, so I decided to try something more spontaneous and embrace the same frenetic energy that I could feel in the city. Thus, piece by piece and block by block, my cityscape emerged. I'm way out of my comfort zone here, but I appreciate the need to try new things. I liked the concept :)

Tokyo Real #3 is (sort of) improvisationally pieced commercial cotton prints with machine quilting.

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