Every Tokyoite knows the situation depicted above: squeezed tight like canned sardines, we heroically endure claustrophobic commutes every single day. This condition makes it easy to ignore or forget each other’s individuality, but even a quick look at the faces in these pictures will demonstrate how wrong we are to do so. This is the magic of Carl Randall, an English painter who’s spent several years in Japan. In an interview with Glass magazine, Randall said he aimed to tell a story only through heads, and he certainly seems to have succeeded.
Randall’s newer series, ‘In The Footsteps of Hiroshige: The Tokaido Highway and Portraits of Modern Japan’ will be making its way to the heart of the actual Tokaido – the Shizuoka City Tokaido Hiroshige Museum of Art – this summer after displays at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Wolverhampton Art Gallery and the Aberdeen Art Gallery. Randall originally won the 2012 BP Travel Award with a painting called ‘Mr Kitazawa’s Noodle Shop’ (see below) from his ‘Tokyo Portrait’ series, allowing him to return to Japan and follow the footsteps of Hiroshige on the Tokaido Highway. His art is a response to the great ukiyo-e master’s works, and puts a modern twist on his travels. If you don’t have any plans for the hot season yet, we highly recommend a small weekend trip down the coast to see Randall’s fresh portrayals of the mix between the modern and the traditional, the urban and the rural. This exhibition opens June 20 and will be viewable until September 15.
And if you have time now, check out this enthralling 11-minute documentary on how Randall created his ‘Tokyo Portraits’ series.
Mr. Kitazawa’s Noodle Bar, Winner of the 2012 BP Travel Award
All pictures from Carl Randall’s website.