Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ryohei Tanaka in the Gallery Tonight!

My exhibit of paper cuts, Panic Attack(!) (Don't Panic): Paper Cuts by Ryohei Tanaka, continues at Cullom Gallery through May 30, 2009, but tonight is a special treat: Ryohei is in Seattle and snipping away in the gallery until 7:30 tonight. I met Ryohei while browsing an online group show at Giant Robot Gallery in San Francisco last year. I was delighted by what I saw as a mixture of old and new in his paper cuts. Clearly urban, youth oriented content done using a very traditonal medium of Japanese art/craft called kiri-e, or cut pictures.

The exhibit features 57 new works. Tanaka’s intricate, hand-cut paper cuts are cut into both unaltered white paper and papers prepared with spat
tered colored pigments. Like the stuff of dreams or a drug trip, their intertwined elements bounce from caricatures of Tokyo "types:" the school girl, the jug-headed Yakuza, the anime geek, to images of urban malaise and economic anxiety, to titillating riffs on sex, drugs, love, and violence.

For over twenty years, Ryohei Tanaka has been spinning his own version of the traditional art of hand-cut Japanese paper cut designs known as kiri-e, which date back to the early 17th century. What started as a solitary childhood game of paper heroes vs. paper villains (born of, and then snipped to pieces by the same genius boy and his scissors) has grown to wide-spread recognition for the artist in Japan and the West. Tanaka’s paper cuts have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibits in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and multiple Tokyo venues.

If you're in Seattle tonight, come on down!

Cullom Gallery
313 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
P: 206-919-8278


  1. Wish I could come! Ryohei's work sure looks great on your website and I'd love to see it in person and watch him wield the scissors. Have a great night!

  2. hi Beth, We had fun last night and it was great to meet your guests. I came across this video today—a fine example of an 'awesome coincidence'. :)

  3. Annie, your were missed! Anne, that is an AWESOME video! I am sending it to Ryohei and Rob right now. So glad you and Jay could join us. It was a great night for me.