The Los Angeles Public Library on Friday released a new card design: a mythological Japanese child of superhuman strength whose fiery red body is attired in Dodger blue.
The art is the work of Gajin Fujita, a Los Angeles artist known for merging contemporary street art with the centuries-old style of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints. His card artwork centers on Kintaro, the folklore character also known as Golden Boy, usually depicted wearing a bib with the kanji character for gold. “I gave him a twist,” Fujita said.
Born in 1972 to Japanese parents, Gajin Fujita ('97 BFA Fine Arts) wasted no time in establishing himself in the world of art, first while honing his style as a graffiti artist on the streets of East Los Angeles, and later at L.A. Louver and museums such as LACMA, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City) and several international venues in Switzerland, Greece, and Belgium.
Fujita blends Eastern techniques (anime, partitioned screens), and elements (geishas, warriors, demons), with Western, urban imagery (Latino graffiti, U.S. pop culture imagery) in a way that is stunning and vibrant, yet harmonious. His startling works embody the cultural and class contradictions that are an integral part of urban Los Angeles. He constantly explores how artistic traditions are both maintained and altered as they move across stylistic and national borders.
Image: A detail of the new Los Angeles Public Library Card featuring the artwork of Gajin Fujita. (Los Angeles Public Library)