Human and plant biological motifs are often equidistant in Sakura’s visual profiles, the artist meditating on his subjects for long periods both before and during the process of creation, each print made through delicate and intricately laced lines etched methodically into the printing plate. As such, “Dodog” is an image fortified with the existential weight of such a meditative process, and finds a profound beauty loaded with a creeping sense of tension from his subject matter; one of a series of works based on individuals the artist has met or is close to. The mouth of this figure stretches and combines in layers to suggest the petals of a fleshy flower, the curl of the lips particularly reminiscent of carnivorous pitcher plantlife, or the exotic shape of an orchid.
Joon explores the tattoo as a signifier for deeper avenues of identity — either as a vehicle for forming or furthering it, or simultaneously suppressing and subconsciously revealing agency in interplays of desire and fantasy. ‘Drunken - Royal Copenhagen’ is of a series of work which explores the theme through a combination of 3d modelling and renderings of porcelain in eye-popping, violently pop-culture referencing style, the co-option of the Royal Copenhagen “Blue Fluted” motif mirroring and subverting the origin of identity, first developed as a 17th century Western response to Ming and Qing dynasty porcelain design.
Color Lithograph- Published by Transworld Art, New York. Blindstamp bottom left corner of margin.
A part of the “Friends & Faces” series, “Flower of Legs” marks a rare departure away from the portrait for Sakura — though many other hallmarks of his work remain intact. The loose assembly of body and plant as a single, harmonised image is lent an eerie undertone with skilled use of tone and framing — the legs appearing dismembered, but arranged in the form of the flower under a soft glow.
Liberating portraiture from strict representation, Sakura uses his prints to reflect on internal conflicts and fantasies, harmonising those perceptions with the image to create a portrayal that acknowledges its own subjectivity — and searches for a universal emotive language. The surrealist abstraction of “Tomas” reduces down to a repetition of mouths and lips (particularly pouting and suggestively female) and extols a wonderment that might topple into obsessiveness over this one trait — or clarifies a personality to its single, definitive point.