Unfortunately due to unforseen circumstances I was unable to interview my friend Taku while at the Traditional Tattoo Festival in Mallorca. With the deadline fast approaching and Taku involved in an exhibition show of his work the following week I was forced to use the short portrait which I would normally use as an introduction to the interview questions. Thankfully I'll have a chance to see Taku again and talk more indepth on Tribal tattooing in Japan and the pottery designs of the Jomon culture. Unfortunately for most readers, you won't be there...
Thankfully though, Taku's work speaks for itself
And for the Swedish impaired:
When talking of Japanese tattooing ones mind is automatically filled with images of koi fish, dragons, gods and heros from feudal times handpoked into the skin of gangsters using tebori tools. Taku Oshima is not one of these tattooists. Starting with a degree in anthropology Taku already had his mind set on prehistory before joining the tattoo world. Traveling to Goa in the 90s opened his eyes to the world of tattooing, however not the colourful designs of his homeland but rather the mehndi and ethic tattoos of India as well as the neo-tribal which was the fashion of the time. Working with tribal designs and traveling the world for many years helped him to develop the graphic aesthetics which would be a signature of his blackwork style. Having been influenced by so many tribal cultures during his travels, Taku began digging into tribal past of Japan upon his return home. The Ainu tribes as well as those of the Yap islands were the first to grab his attention. However upon digging deeper and farther into the past he fell upon the art of the Jomon people. The Jomon's were a group of hunter/gatherers who existed from 13000-1000 BC and while we know little of their tattooing practices due to lack of preserved remains they did however leave a tremendous amount of artwork in the form of clay vessels and figures which survived the test of time. Many of these vessels and figures are of stylized human forms and often were decorated with designs of geometric lines and curving spirals on the joints and down the limbs. Whether these designs were tattoos or merely ornamentation may never be known... however they were the inspiration for an artist wanting to capture a piece of Japan's tribal past for a moment in the present... and that is all that really matters.
Taku Oshima has an exhibition of his work photographed by Ryoichi Keroppy Maeda showing June 2 - 3 @ HfG Offenbach, Isenburger Schloss www.hfg-offenbach.
And June 5 -18 @ RMZ Galerie, Frankfurt
TRIBAL TATTOO APOCARIPT
A-169-0072 #503 1-15-17
And here are a few extra photos of Taku's 1st Exhibition of Jomon Tattoos in Tokyo
with photographs by Ryoichi Keroppy Maeda