More artists I be diggin’.

Yapyap is a new artist for me. I only recently discovered her and she is delightful.

I think she’s Scandinavian and I really feel her Scandinavian-ness because her work reminds me of the Moomin books. Did anyone read the Moomin books as a child? They’re a series of books by Tove Jansson, a Finish/Swedish author, and they’re about a forest creature called a Moomin, the various adventures it has and the creatures it meets along the way. I just read the Wikipedia entry on the Moomin books and this line make me smile:

Some of Jansson’s characters are on the verge of melancholy, such as the always formal Hemulen, or the strange Hattifatteners who travel in concerted, ominous groups. Jansson uses the differences between the characters’ philosophies to provide a venue for her satirical impulses. The novelist Alison Lurie has described the Groke, a black, hill-shaped creation with glowing eyes, as a walking manifestation of Nordic gloominess – everyone she touches dies, and the ground freezes everywhere she sits.

I’m officially changing my name to A Walking Manifestation of Baltic Gloominess*. Then, when people complain that I’m negative and crotchety (which I am most of the time), I can whip out a business card and point to my name, like, “See?” But I digress. I think Yapyap has done a great job of combining hand-painted elements with computer-generated elements. It’s kind of hard to get them to meld smoothly. Also, I love her color choices – some really bright, some really muted. Yapyap’s work is charming and I want her to make a video game, like Little Big Planet, but with her characters. I think that would be super-swell.

The other artist I wanted to touch on is Motoi Yamamoto. Ever since his sister died, he’s been working in salt. He makes complicated patterns on the floor with salt. His patience and thoroughness is so impressive.

Apparently Motoi is very connected with the earth, so when his shows are over he sweeps up all the salt and returns it to the sea. All I can think about when I watch him work is how quickly my legs would fall asleep, sitting indian-style on the floor for a million hours with a squeezie-bottle of salt. Ungh. I’m getting stiff just thinking about it. That kind of dedication to one’s craft is commendable. And I love that he deviated from the labyrinth style to do the cherry blossom piece. It’s neat to see him explore new and different terrain within his chosen style.

*I have to make it Baltic not Nordic because my people are originally from Latvia, Lithuania and the Ukraine, but it’s very cold and dark there too so I think the gloom is transferable.

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