2015, 33 x 24.5cm
Joe Wray works as an artist from his studio in Berlin, transforming his pen and ink drawings into colourful digital prints. His artwork reflects his passion for pattern, decorative Asian illustration, tribal African imagery and traditional Japanese printmaking amongst many other things. His artwork might be described as a contemporary mashup of past and present, of the figurative and the abstract. He has had solo and group exhibitions of his work in London, Barcelona and Berlin.
The inspiration for this ongoing series ‘Art of the Floating Planet’ comes principally from the Japanese woodblock print tradition of Ukiyo-e (translated as ‘the floating world’), Japanese tattoo culture known as Irezumi and pop art. Many Ukiyo-e prints were depictions of figures in interior scenes, intended to portray the carefree and hedonistic spirit of a time of sudden wealth amongst the merchant classes in Japan in the late 17th century.
Ukiyo-e depicted in some sense, a dream world detached from the world outside. There is a lineage between this floating world and our own image-saturated culture which we experience in a solitary manner largely via our computer screens. We quietly curate these private dream worlds comprised of countless disassociated images. Some of us may even tattoo this visual mash-up onto our own skins.