Tuesday, May 25, 2010
IKKO TANAKA 1930 -2002
Ikko Tanaka born 1930 in Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan, where he studied art as a child. He was one of the greatest Japanese Poster Designers. A master of the fine arts of Japanese calligraphy and an expert with Western Typography. His ultimate mission was beauty-creating elegance
and simplicity through a strict adherence to basic geometric form. He borrowed simple shapes and patterns of ancient arts and incorporated them into designs.
He graduated from the Kyoto City School of Fine Arts and began working in the early 1950's. Then in 1963 designed a studio in Tokyo. Ikko presents himself with grace, humility and natural expertise and is well known for being someone that did not care for public lectures or guest appearances in academic circles.
Tanaka's Japanese poster and publication designs consisted of Japanese tradition and the International style which helped create modern artworks. In his designs he succeeded in gripping the strong and clean, colourful and playful, past and present graphic compositions and also consisting
a deep influence of Japanese Culture- this made him unique among his colleagues.
Expanded his work by not only doing posters and booklets for cultural organisations, he also designed logos, packaged designs and annual reports for brands Hanae Mori, Issey Miyake and Mazda.
His best known poster was the abstract feature of a geisha for the Asian Performing Arts Institute in 1981. At first glance the design seems to only consist solely of a series of rectangles and squares. But looking closer, the geometric jumble morphs into the figure of a woman's head.
Because the head of the woman is turned towards the audience, it creates a sense of motion. The background of the poster is the Japan's rising sun. Through the single placement he establishes an effect of shadows and depth.
Most of Ikko's images pay homage to old representatives of Kabuki - a Japanese Dance theatre- while others are more abstract with a Western Op Art flavour.
Ikko wasn't trapped under a nation's expectations for success and had with nothing to prove so that he was free to experiment with colour and form. With his use of bold colour he expanded the possibilities of Japanese graphic design, by using colour in a syncopated manner in order to express frivolity.
Tanaka is one of the leaders of the commercial art world as a graphic designer, art director and editor for a series of books and Japanese culture. He became involved in modern drama and joined the Atelier-za theatrical study group when he moved to Kyoto.
Whilst in Kyoto he became acquainted with Kabuki and Hokusai's 19th Century wood block prints.
According to Tanaka, graphic design is intended to communicate to a general public. Much like posters, as they are everyday vehicles of beauty and values that must be articulate.
He was a member of the Tokyo ADC, AGI, and the NY ADC Hall of Fame. And also created an on-person exhibition in New York, Los Angeles, and Mexico.
Ikko;s awards include: JAAC Special Selection
Mainichi Design Awards
Minister of Education Newcomer Prize
TOKYO ADC Member's Grand Prize
Mainichi Art Award
Purple ribbon Medal
New York ADC Hall of Fame Prize
He died on January 11th 2002, at the age of 71, from a heart attack.
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/24/arts/ikko-tanaka-71-japanese-graphic-designer.html http://www.artandculture.com/users/576-ikko-tanaka http://www.tdctokyo.org/awards/award95/95membergold_e.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikko_Tanaka http://www.amazon.com/Tanaka-Ikko-Gian-Carlo-Calza/dp/0714837164