The Creation Story
I wrote 29 tuna fish haikus in 2001 after a long illness. Colon surgery left me unable to eat, except strangely, for tuna fish. Tuna just tasted good - casserole, salads, steaks - I couldn't get enough of it. I recovered and stored the Haikus in a computer folder where they sat unnoticed for over 10 years. When I rediscovered the haikus, I decided pair them with illustrations. I found Tevin King, a university graduate student interested in building his digital portfolio.
My approach to Haiku writing was both to follow closely the Japanese 5-7-5 syllable structure and to honor the Haiku's original definition, " a tiny window into a scene much larger than itself; a way of looking at the world and seeing something deeper". When King read my poems, he decided to base his work on the 17th century Ukiyo-e, Japanese woodblock style.
Stylistically, I wrote in English and applied my own sensibility to the Haikus. Tevin King's work adopted a similar strategy. "Scales" shows how this ancient art form can evolve into contemporary communication, with a strictly American take. We think our work respects history while conveying its own emotion and humor.
Initially, we considered producing a bound book consistent with Japanese printing guidelines and consulted with art history, design and print professors. In the end, we decided to house individual portfolio pages in hand made clam shell boxes using Japanese book cloth and hot foil stamping.
Each portfolio page is a marriage of inkjet and letterpress printing. The poems are hand letterpress printed on fine art paper. Because the artwork was created digitally and is color-rich, inkjet printers ere used. The illustrations were given a de-bossed "frame" to give them a sense of place on the page.
Only Six Original Sets Remain at https://grayfoxart.com/
For information, go to Gray Fox Art where visitors can purchase an original set as well as silk scarves and prints.