Tokyo Graffiti Book Review – Enlightening, Pulsating Imaginative Images

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Tokyo Graffiti, from author Lord K2 and Schiffer Publishing, adds another street art collection to his series with this release that, like his other books, highlights the burgeoning street art scenes in cities around the world.

Like Street Art of Santiago, Tokyo Graffiti begins with an introduction to the street scene in Japan, from ancient civilization to historical to the more modern 1980s and forward which ushered in a technological, cultural and societal revolution that embraced the free thinkers, the avant-garde, the intellectual all who were paving a road to the future on their own terms.


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"It takes approximately two hours in Tokyo to become charged with an electrifying current that will invade your sleep. At first glance, Tokyo is one of the cleanest and most efficient cities to visit. The streets and trains stations convey a manicured, respectful and somehow futuristic vibe," said Mika Revell, also known as Little Pink Pills, who provided the introduction.

Graffiti in Tokyo, which the author explains, is nowhere and everywhere. Graffiti, in Tokyo, is considered garish. Looking beyond misconception one finds that street art in Tokyo is everywhere, taking many forms.

This installment sections the specialty book into the types of street art one will find in Tokyo, not so much mixture of expressions found in the neighborhoods of Santiago. Beginning with Stickers, Un-commissioned, Behind the Scenes, Commissioned and POW! WOW! Japan, and indoors, even from the names one can ascertain the art is Tokyo represents a style all to its own.


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Walking through the 160 pages of photographs and interviews, Lord K2, takes readers on a visually stimulating journey of old school meets new school or the past meets light speed future.

Of course, like the bloated tag style, seen in nearly every city in the world, stickers in Tokyo are the "trading cards" of modern culture. Quick, easy, unnoticeable, and for the distributor suddenly a logo, brand or iconic ideal is seen on vending machines lamp posts, billboards, anywhere there is a surface.

The sticker culture has already migrated and as been seen in blockbuster movies, like "Spider-Man Into the Spider Verse."

Except for commissioned art, all forms of graffiti in Tokyo can bring swift penalties if caught. Sticker Art fast tracks the display and the artists can slip into a crowd unnoticed.


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Un-commissioned or "throw-ups" as they are called, are the tags, the bloated lettering that marks the spot, the underpass of highways, steel shutters used by merchants and retailers also provides a canvass for the undecided artist. This type of "art" is illegal in Tokyo, and yet hardly enforceable unless caught red handed, in the act, with paint cans and of course, it is the most thrilling for many who are looking to cross the line, challenge the system, and break free from societal restraints.

"The Greater Tokyo Area" is the most populous metropolitan in the world, hoe to more than thirty-five million inhabitants. It is unique in its merging culture, histories, technologies and international enterprises. Amidst the lights and sounds of the streets, artists are pausing in the surge of activity to disrupt, engage, and inspire, yet they are hampered by the masses pf pedestrians and stringent laws," Lord K2 said.

This area is also where the art begins to take on a more modern yet traditional form. Clearly futuristic and yet still with form. Melting phantasmagorias, dripping colors, kaleidoscopes of colors all becoming recognizable shapes and forms.

Commissioned pieces are of course, large scale installations, which reflect the culture, the people and legal. It is not uncommon to see the artist, in the light of day, with ladders and risers and other equipment that allows the artists to create, on scale, walls of neon's, colors which represent the culture, the land, the history, and even some artists use calligraphy and Japanese lettering to present their message to the people.


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POW! WOW! Japan, an artist's nirvana, "takes place during the month of October and attracts artists from all over the world to collaborate and redesign the urban landscape from Shibuya to Tennozu Isle. The results are massive murals, walls of colors, and dramatic designs."

Lord K2 also known as David Sharabani, reveals his surname at the end of this book, has a background similar to many venture capitalists, a London based financier, he became part of the retire early movement, and while working by day in finance he attended the London College in Printing. He studied stencil in Buenos Aires and then photography at the International center of Photography in New York. His artistic street life canvas allowed him a freedom a single studio couldn't. His work has been seen in Argentina, Chile, and featured in galleries in New York, London, and Tel Avia.

Innovative, radical, and pioneering Sharabani/Lord K2 puts together another great street tour of inventive artists who reflect the duality of Tokyo society; celebrating both the modern and futuristic and the rich history, refined art and common graffiti, the dedicated and gifted along with the weekenders.

Tokyo Graffiti is available at fine bookstores everywhere and online.

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