16: A garden anchored by an ancient avocado
February 11, 2011 10:08 AM   Subscribe

Gaku Nakagawa was born in the temple Zuisenji, Kyoto in 1966. He studied Buddhist art at university and worked as a copywriter after graduation. He is also a monk of the Jyodousyu sect. Since 1996 he has worked as an illustrator, producing images that are described as informal yet truly sophisticated, if similar to some 1950's illustration. His work appears in Monocle's animated 50 Things to Improve the Way You Live (Flash interface), at the Welsh Assembly website: Your Assembly (6mb pdf), and elsewhere like the outside of Heartwood Cafe. He also illustrated a children's book, Ice Cream Once a Year. You can get some of his illustrations in a zip file.
posted by cashman (10 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you for finding and sharing. The images in the informal and sophisticated link let my whole soul rise up just now.
posted by infini at 10:18 AM on February 11, 2011

Buddhist monk creates commercial illustrations, including animated ones for Materialistic Monthly's "(Almost) 50 Expensive Things You Can Buy to Improve Your Life."

Buddhist monk is doing it wrong.
posted by zylocomotion at 11:08 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Jyodousyu sect"

Is this a weird misspelling of Jodo Shinshu? Plus Zuisenji is a Rinzai Zen monastery. Straight sects please!
posted by sneebler at 11:39 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've seen hundreds of illustrators take on the style of the 50s. This artist is genius. Every decision seems perfect, harmonious and radiant.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:44 AM on February 11, 2011

What dances_with_sneetches said. Every one I've looked at makes me catch by breath with just how stunningly right it is.
posted by Zed at 11:58 AM on February 11, 2011

My first reaction was how clean his work is. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by Cranberry at 12:27 PM on February 11, 2011

Yeah, this is the sort of illustration I fool myself into thinking I can do and then discover I cannot. There is genius in that.
posted by maxwelton at 6:10 PM on February 11, 2011

Wow, that Monocle site is a lesson in how not to do the web - a highly laboured style over substance, which I guess pretty much sums up Monocle. And is indeed the opposite approach Nakagawa's illustration, which is nice.
posted by johnny novak at 10:14 PM on February 11, 2011

sneebler, Jodo Shu (Pure Land Sect) exists, and was founded by the ex-Tendai monk Honen. One of Honen's disciples, Shinran, founded Jo Do Shin Shu (True Pure Land Sect) in turn. Also, there are number of temples with the name Zuisenji in Japan, and although one in Kamakura is indeed of the Rinzai sect, another in Kyoto is Jodo Shu.
posted by jet_manifesto at 2:20 AM on February 12, 2011

posted by sneebler at 9:30 AM on February 12, 2011

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