Currently reading : Horiyoshi III exhibition at Somerset House
Kokoro: The Art of Horiyoshi III
Courtyard Rooms, South Wing, Somerset House, London
Horiyoshi III, the internationally renowned tattoo artist currently has his first exhibition in London at the esteemed Somerset House.
Horiyoshi belongs to a royal line of horishi tattoo artists: those specialising in the traditional full-body tattoo called Irezumi. This exhibition studies his paintings on silk as well as displaying tattoo instruments and paint brushes.
Kokoro means ‘heart‘ and ‘feeling‘ in Japanese and through the paintings exhibited Horiyoshi III preserves traditional Japanese culture and mythology through incredibly beautiful silk paintings. Each painting shows typical Japanese images such as dragons, koi’s and white phoenix’s, but each one is depicted is varying sensitivity, intricacy and harshness depending on the story told. The diverse nature of each painting gives the exhibition an eclectic feel considering that most of the paintings are all the same size and repetitively placed beside one another. The varying brush strokes and colours used also add to this fantastic effect.
Having “vowed to never be lazy until the day I die”, he still tattoos six days a week after thirty years of practice. You can see a video of Horiyoshi III at work here which The Guardian recently made.
After meeting Ed Hardy (the exhibition opens with a quote from Hardy about Horiyoshi’s pioneering impact on tattoo culture and history) and becoming close friends, Horiyoshi started to use the electric needle alongside using traditional techniques and pioneered a new form of Japanese tattooing.
The exhibition is free and runs from now until until the 1st of June, it is open every day from 10.00-18.00. More information can be found here