Maharishi pays tribute to Japanese Ukiyo-e artists Kawanabe Kyōsai and Tsukioka Yoshitoshi for Autumn Winter 2022 · Blind Flying Masters.
The word ukiyo embodies the Buddhist idea of the transitory nature of life, an ethos which contrasted the pessimistic outlook of the conservative military government imposed by Shogunates at the time. Society within Edo Japan was segregated into four classes and art was only commonplace in groups of the elite, being heavily guarded with the military class serving as it's patrons.
Early circles of Ukiyo-e artists had to be covert with their practice, as their skilled hand-painted works and woodblock prints were seen to depict enjoyable activities in social settings.
Artists would attend Shogakai's (calligraphy parties) where Kyōsai and Yoshitoshi stood out for their pioneering caricatures and technically brilliant, vivid paintings and illustrations. This open-minded approach combined along with their proficiency in an array of styles conveyed the many views of this era.
Maharishi references the early methods of reproducing texts by way of woodblock prints, dating back as early as the eighth century where many Buddhist texts were reproduced by this method.
Reinterpreting these processes through hand-machined embroidery on heavyweight Melton Wools, Original Snopants® and a celebration of woodblock prints on Organic Cotton jersey, bringing light to an art movement swept away due to the end of Japan's Edo period.
Photographer: Rory Griffin @rory_griffs
Model: Reef Picknell @reefpicknell