Buried Treasure – Akiya Kageichi

This morning as I sipped room temperature coffee and absentmindedly marveled at my two year old daughter dancing to ‘the wheels on the bus’, I also did some internet searching for images to accompany various prose I’ve been composing recently.

It’s truly fascinating and occasionally hilarious what you stumble upon when you submerge yourself in Google images. It started off simple enough, I had a particular aesthetic I was seeking. One click led to another, to yet another, and ohhhhh – god what is this? Where the fuck am I? I was suddenly tumbling down the rabbit hole, skirt blowing up over my head, unsure if I would ever return.

Thankfully, this strange expedition introduced me to something incredible. An artist who’s repertoire I was totally unfamiliar with but instantly smitten by. There are so many brilliant aspects to Akiya Kageichi’s art. The line work. The moods. The unusual hues. The facial expressions.

It’s a gorgeous fusion of influence; it hearkens to the Vienna Secession movement made famous by symbolist painter Gustav Klimt and also the vintage fairy tale illustrations crafted magically in the work of Arthur Rackham and Kay Neilson during the golden age of illustration. I also get distinct David Bowie Labyrinth era vibes.

I am particularly impressed by how the male figures are depicted in these pieces; it’s somewhat unusual to see men represented as so unapologetically beautiful, androgynous, and complicated. Men in heels. Adorned in lovely, intricate fashion. It’s important and extremely noteworthy when an artist shows that masculinity can co-exist with emotion and beauty. We live in a society that segregates these concepts, as if one diminishes the other. When in fact?  Gender fluidity is incredibly sexy. It shows a mastery of both “roles”, both sexes. Who wouldn’t want someone who’s comfortable with each?

In short, I’m madly in love.

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"She would fill endless notebooks with stories about the characters in her life, their impressions, words, friends, lovers, inspirations, fantasies. She spent her days dreaming up worlds where they fit together in visions; the if only, the never again, the someday. Those who knew her best would describe her as a creature with a clear and sometimes painful sense of herself; furious with ideas and convictions, to a point that she frightened love away with discernment and a relentless strength of character."

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