Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thoughts on the 100 Cups of Anne Smith

Illustration by Anne Smith. All rights reserved ( )
A week or so ago, I happened to look at a link sent to me by Selvedge Magazine and it took me to the wonderful illustrations of Anne Smith. Her 100 cups illustrations especially resonated with me. She is working on a book to showcase her art and I look forward to being able to purchase it. Each cup illustration on her websites is a lovely bit of visual poetry and I am eager to see all the 100 cups illustrations in her book.

Around the same time I  discovered Anne Smith's work, I was contacted by Rasteriods Design in San Jose regarding a public art project of a fence wrap to go around a construction site of several block in Japantown, San Jose, California. These few blocks were once Heinlenville, the last of six Chinatowns in San Jose. I thought it would be really interesting to invite artists to each paint a cup reflecting some part of history of this area, as many fragments of tea cups and rice bowl were found in the site excavation conducted by Sonoma State Anthropological Studies Center.

It is the early stages of the conceptual ideas for the fence wrap and I think the theme of the designs will take a different turn, but I will tuck away in my mind the idea of cups for future projects. So often in these excavations, the echos of the past lives of Chinese and Japanese immigrants are in the form of pottery shards. Anchoring public art imagery in this site to tea cups or rice bowls both references historical relevant artifacts and creates a theme around objects poetically representing  spaces to be filled with ideas and memories.
Below: Digital textile design I created from a Heinlenville shard fragment of a Japanese rice bowl and below that an image of the fence wrap site in Japantown, San Jose.

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