“Fantastic Voyage” is about one’s artistic journey. In Pontocho it is this young lady’s misedashi; her first day as a maiko. (Metaphorically, her obi is rather like a sail and she a glorious sailing ship setting out.) The strong diagonal lines in the composition help to suggest movement on a set course. Her fantastic voyage has begun.
The drawing simultaneously represents my own artistic journey. It contains two of my favourite motifs; maiko and lantern. The randomly placed stickers over the lantern are suggestive of my street art-themed drawings. I have David Bowie, once again, to thank for my title. “Fantastic Voyage” is the first track on his album “Lodger”.
I took the source photo back in November 2005. I asked the brains trust on Facebook who this maiko might be. They didn’t come up with a conclusive answer though it may be Ichina who made her debut sometime late 2005 but the exact date isn’t known.
I have already drawn from this source photo in 2006. The composition of the latest drawing is a little different from that drawing of a decade ago. For instance in 2006 I elected to remove the kanzashi (hair ornament) as I didn’t think it worked in my composition. Back then I also hadn’t realised that I had witnessed a misedashi as I didn’t know anything about the language of kimono or maiko hairstyles in the early days.
Comparing “Painted” with “Fantastic Voyage” I note that I have made some headway on my own artistic journey since 2006.
“Fantastic Voyage” also relates to my many journeys to Kyoto and my incredible love of that unique city. During the voyage (begun in 2003 and still current) I have found, and continue to find, immense ‘treasures’ of artistic experiences and images. How fortunate I am and how much I DO NOT take my passage on the art journey for granted.