TorontoNAJC – Update

June 12, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Bayefsky/Inouye Tattoo ImagesYosh Inouye, a TorontoNAJC board member, is a professional photographer and his striking photos of tattoos by Toronto tattoo artist Maru who specializes in traditional Japanese designs is on display in the “bayefsky/inouye – tattoo images”   exhibit at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre from May 19 through to August 8.   The exhibit is unique in partnering Yosh’s evocative photos with a showing of delicate watercolours of elaborately tattooed yakuza figures by the late Canadian painter Aba Bayefsky OC. Artist Bayefsky’s paintings were the results of his many visits to Japan in the 1970s and 80s. It is a fascinating exhibit of paintings and photos of beautifully elaborate and traditional Japanese tattoos. At the exhibit’s opening reception, Yosh commented:

“Japanese tattoo artist, Maru, arranged the first tattoo shoot for me. I visited his studio in downtown Toronto and shot without having any idea of the final image.  I came back home, and stared at the photographs on a monitor.

I had witnessed tattoos in Japan. It was a frightening experience for a child. The tattoo was a fearful statement of belonging to a yakuza family.

After hours passed, I started feeling comfortable. I realized I knew where to go from here.

The background of my tattoo photographs is not merely background. It has an equal weight as the tattoo.   I spent a lot of time finding and shooting the backgrounds, from morning to late night. I did not have any set ideas what to shoot for the background.

My good friend, Ward Eagen, sent me an email  “the artist cannot say what he does, and the critic cannot do what he says – Northrop Frye”     I not only cannot say what I do but also dunno what I am doing.”