A fantastic blend of Japanese tradition meeting the modern medium of videogames. That’s Jed Henry’s Ukiyo-e Heroes collection of prints, which will be soon available through Kickstarter. Jump in to find out all the details.
Illustrator Jed Henry has been hard at work these past few months drawing-up his latest collection of Japanese Ukiyo-e prints based on famous videogames. His series of paintings have gained quite the following online, especially among the gaming crowd, and in response to the swell in popularity, Jed will begin selling individual prints starting August 1 through a Kickstarter initiative.
The Ukiyo-e art style dates way back to the 17th and 20th centuries in Japan, depicting such classy subject matter as native landscapes, historical backdrops, or Japanese folklore. I remember a younger me stumbling upon ukiyo-e art being a fan of the rock band Weezer; their in-retrospect beloved Pinkerton album features a winter-set ukiyo-e painting by Utagawa Hiroshige, one of the last great artists in that tradition.
Gag me with a spork for being so enthusiastic (actually, don’t please), but I think Jed Henry’s own set of Ukiyo-e paintings are equal, if not better, to his ancient contemporaries. Again, maybe that’s blasphemy talk, but there’s no denying that each print displays some impressive skill on the behalf of Jed. In fact, none of these prints were done digitally, but rather with a pencil, lots of drawing paper, and a desk with a built-in lamp for tracing.
Let’s get down to my favorites, though. Personally, I love everyone of Jed’s Ukiyo-e paintings, although if I had to choose three in a deserted island scenario, at 1) Samus from Super Metroid, that one is just pure sex; 2) Star Fox, I’d do a barrel-roll for that beauty, and 3) Simon Belmot of Castlevania fame. Oh, what a terrible night to have a curse, and, oh, what a superb art piece.
There’s more at Jed Henry’s Facebook page, Ukiyo-e Heroes, where you can also learn further info about their upcoming Kickstarter campaign on the first of August. And if everything goes off well, we might even see actual Ukiyo-e woodcarvings in the purchasable future; Jed’s enlisted the remarkable talents of woodblock printmaker David Bull, and from the previews I’ve seen so far, they look marvelous.