Daimyo Art Action is a collection of eight original commissioned murals that brighten up Fukuoka’s Daimyo district. The project is an initiative of the Junior Chamber International Fukuoka, with a special panel formed for the initial selection of artists and judging. Artists were given the theme “Born”, inferring the new life that the artworks bring to the the already vibrant inner-city area where old and new cultures mix.
Armed with my trusty camera and a printed “Art Map” of Daimyo, I set out on the Daimyo Art Action trail. Map is available on the Daimyo Art Action official website.
1.平野 幹 / Kan Hirano
➤Where: Right near the Nike store and iconic “Border Line Records” (heading into Daimyo from Nishi-dori).
➤Who: Kan Hirano is a Tokyo-born Fukuoka resident who has been “live painting” since 2007. Her style is a mix of pop art and graffiti.
➤Impression: This vibrant mural uses every color of the rainbow! Immense size and color.
2.吉田 佳寿美 / Kasumi Yoshida
➤Where: In the small “konya-machi” alleyway, next to an antique shop. To get into the alley, you’ll see signs for shops “Qlozet” and “Whoopee!” – follow past these shops around the bend, and look up!
➤Who: At young age of 17 Kasumi Yoshida’s list of clients already included the likes of Red Bull, DeNA and others. Now 20, Yoshida has a bright future ahead.
➤Impression: The artist uses the space well – continuing the design of a vine covered girl from the main wall space to a smaller wall below. It leaves a strong impression and blends into konya-machi really well.
3.八坂 圭 / Kei Yasaka
➤Where: At the far end of a long parking lot (on the same street as Karaoke Roman) you’ll see a burst of green covering the back walls.
➤Who: Kei Yasaka is an active Fukuoka artist who has exhibited in Fukuoka, Tokyo, and even Belgium in 2013. He illustrates for the cover of monthly Hakata magazine Gekkan Hakata.
➤Impression: The green wall is covered with drips and patterns of color that grab the eye from afar. Get up close to the walls for a “surround sound” viewing!
4.岩田 とも子 / Tomoko Iwata
➤Where: On the side of an abandoned building next to a parking lot, on the same street as the lemon yellow juice bar “Fruit and Shake Bar”.
➤Who: Tomoko Iwata is a Kanagawa artist who paints all over Japan with the theme of natural science and art.
➤Impression: This is my favorite! The design plays across the surfaces of this uninhabited building and transforms it into something beautiful. The mural itself is incredibly detailed and very cool – referencing elements of nature, and the night sky.
5.田中 太 / Futoshi Tanaka
➤Where: On the same street as Daily Yamasaki Akasaka, You’ll find this mural above a printing shop on an old pink apartment building.
➤Who: Futoshi Tanaka is from Kyushu Sangyo and works as a painter in Fukuoka. Recently participated in a PARCO exhibition by Tenjin Labo.
➤Impression: Compared to the other murals that utilize an entire wall space, this is refreshingly contained within a circular design. It suits the building well, with a cute city-themed design.
6.佐伯 祥 / Sachi Saeki
➤Where: Just before the famous Japanese style restaurant “Chikae” – a set of three roller doors of a storage space are decorated with bursts of floral patterning. This is a little confusing – but the space is shared by two artists – the first of which is Sachi Saeki whose painting begins in the middle and runs to the far right. Next to them a small building at the front of a car park is painted too.
➤Who: Yamaguchi born Sachi Saeki now lives and works in Fukuoka . Her detailed illustrations use bright colors, and often feature flora and fauna imagery
➤Impression: The roller door piece is interesting to look at up close, as the artists painted on the corrugated surface with skill. The parking lot building features a bright island scene. Another example of street art reinventing otherwise ordinary spaces.
7.大川 枝里子 / Eriko Okawa
➤Where: Directly next to Sachi Saeki’s art, Eriko Okawa’s art runs across the roller doors from the right side to the middle of the center panel. On the left side of the doors, a small wall is painted blue & white.
➤Who: Eriko Okawa is a Fukuoka painter, active in Busan, Korea and Fukuoka.
➤Impression: The roller doors are painted in bursts of blue and white shapes. The small wall beside it is understated compared to some of the other murals, but that’s what makes it so appealing. The simple combination of powder blue background and white line-drawing design is calming.
8.JOY倶楽部 アトリエブラヴォ/ Joy Club Atelier Bravo
➤Where: Right near Daimyo Cross Garden and The Three Kings British Pub, there’s another large carpark with it’s back wall painted.
➤Who: Joy Club Atelier Bravo is a Fukuoka based initiative that provide artistic opportunities to those with intellectual disabilities, including painting, pottery, music etc. The artists are paid for their artistic creations, enabling the disabled to live independent, self-sufficient lives.
➤Impression: Before I knew about Atelier Bravo, I had seen other artworks by the group around Fukuoka and loved them. The strong lines and block colors of this mural make it simple, but the illustration style is very stylized. This comes in at a close second place as my favorite mural!
And that’s the end of the Daimyo Art Action trail!
The entire course takes less than an hour to complete at a leisurely pace, but I suggest allowing more time to stop and browse the myriad of small shops and cafes that Daimyo has to offer. I found it a refreshing activity – and a good lesson in appreciating the beauty and everyday creativity found in Daimyo. As you walk around locating the murals, you take notice of other details that may have gone unnoticed on another day. Put away your keitai, and get to know the city a little better while enjoying local artists’ works.
Report by Ellery Herbert for Fukuoka Now, Nov. 12 2013