Thursday, January 5, 2012

Studies for Mural Fence Wrap in Japantown San Jose

I am beginning to create studies for a digitally printed fence wrap mural in San Jose, California. I am one of several artists invited by Rasteriods Design to contribute art to this fence which surrounds what was once San Jose's last Chinatown, Heinlenville, and what is today a part of Japantown. We are also looking to incorporate large bold graphics inspired by Studio Cochae.

Incorporated into the pattern designs above are images of actual artifacts (Japanese porcelain bowl and cow bones) dug up in an archeological excavation behind the fence. The cow bone slices are examples of how Chinese re-cut Western meats smaller to incorporate into Chinese cooking. Many fragments of both porcelain and re-cut cow bone were found at the site and graciously lent to me by the Sonoma State Anthropological Studies Center.

Tonight I submitted an application for a Donor Circle for the Arts Grant with Next Vista for Learning to engage youth of the Japantown community in contributing poetry, spoken word and interviews to the project. I envision student works being QR code linked on posters and on the fence wrap itself to connect public with student reflections online.

In this mural concept I am attempting to metaphorically bridge the past with the present and bring the artifacts to life in a modern day context. The girl is dressed in clothing of today and is blowing on a bowl of soup. The bowl in her hand is the pieced together bowl from the bowl fragment in the pattern behind her. The soup she is cooling contains beef broth and it is echoed in the bone pattern visible in the steam and in the child as she drinks it. The steam itself is a connection to the past as it references the incense burned to honor and remember ancestors. On this steam I will be illustrating floating objects representing the life of this community past and present.
The several blocks of fencing that the fence wrap will encase. Most recently this area was a municipal bus yard. Before that it was Heinlenville, a walled Chinese enclave.


  1. Very thoughtful and beautiful allusion in your imagery, Corinne. The QR code links is a great idea. Maybe a treasure hunt or some kind of challenge (even a crossword puzzle) for viewers to look for answers contained within the QR links might make for a fun field trip.
    Is there already plans for a "Wink Luke" in Japan town? There should be, and you should be the curator!