Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jumping Off Point


Jumping Off Point, originally uploaded by Bound Staff Press.

I've been mulling over the loss of my Aunt a few weeks ago and have been struggling with how best to work through my thoughts. My Aunt Emiko met and married my uncle when he was stationed in Japan with the Navy. They lived on the West coast, and rarely visited Kansas when I was young. As a result of distance, and our cultural differences, I feel like I barely knew Emiko.
About the time I entered Middle School, my Uncle Jim retired from the Navy, and moved with his family to Bazine, KS. I was awkward, but Emiko was always kind to me. She and Jim reached out to me, planning for my visits, taking me fishing, opening their home to me when the adults gathered some place else.
Emiko struggled with cancer for the past few years. Her life had become less than comfortable, and ended unexpectedly in relation to a surgery. With Emiko's fragility, and my small children, we had not made contact in quite some time.
With her passing, I was suddenly aware of how often I had passed up opportunities to get to know her better, or even to stop and say hi. I know I am not alone in feeling this way after a death, but that doesn't change my hopelessness.
This latest print is in response to Emiko's passing. I borrowed some waves from traditional ukiyo-e prints, and used a Japanese fishing boat. The transcending ladder and abandoned ribbon are my own symbols. I really want to do a multi-color multi-block cut with this image. We'll see how ambitious I get.

5 comments:

pejnolan said...

I really like the heartfelt idea behind this pice. The waves are immediately recognizable as Japanese in origin and I like how their undulating ebb and flow are used in the ladder as well. I see the ribbon on the ladder as something that was tying the person down, but now they are released. That may or may not be what you intended, but that is my initial take. Lovely.

Amie Roman said...

I agree (not that I could have articulated anywhere near as well!). I really like the imagery used in this image. Especially thankful of your sharing your personal experiences with the development of your image. I think your work is so powerful because of the place your inspirations come from; you've got a great spirit.

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

Justin - thanks for 'following' my blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

I recently dealt with a friend's death with similar feelings as your own. I just felt I didn't reach out enough to him, and suddenly it was too late.

I absolutely love your work. I am a big fan of block prints, especially Japanese style block prints.

We'll see you around, Justin. God bless and happy blogging!

Susan Ruettimann said...

Justin -- Dad told me about your blog tonight so had to check it out. I love this piece -- and your words are as beautiful as your art. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Celeste Jean said...

Thanks for sharing, this piece really is inspiring. I hope that I "grow up" to do work of this quality one day.