It's not often I have a great spillover from the day-job to the soul-job, but today I strike gold. Ukiyo-e is something really special and over at ukiyoeproject.com you'll find a solid bunch of people desperately trying to keep the art alive. If you have no idea what it is, Ukiyo-e is a traditional Japanese art - a multi-colored wood-block print. It was first appeared and became popular during samurai era, between mid 1600 and 1700. “Ukiyo” means current events and “e” means painting. Thus Ukiyo-e means paintings of current events. People during the time obtained news of the society as well as the fashion and travel trend from Ukiyoe. Many Ukiyo-e depict then popular beautiful women, land scape, sumo wrestlers, and Kabuki actors. You may have already known and seen famous Ukiyo-es by Hokusai, Sharaku and Utamaro.
But as with all art forms from another world ago, it's struggling. To pass the adequate skills of Ukiyo-e, artists need serious and long-term commitment for training and the number of successors is decreasing. The main problem is there are not enough jobs to keep them going. Therefore, the masters can’t afford young apprentices who are willing to learn. Today, there are only about thirty printers and only nine wood carvers. If the current situation stays the same, the 350-year-old Ukiyo-e techniques will be lost within 20 years.
Ukiyo-e is now facing the crisis of extinction.
Which brings us to the present day and the Ukiyo-e Project where they're working on making the art form relevant to the present day - and what better way to do such a thing than by mashing up the past with a little bit of rock n roll... like this:
They have a store right here - you know what to do.