I think Akira Horikawa is a bit of a maniac (and I mean this as a compliment). Horikawa has been working on his 1000Drawing Project, with the goal of creating 1,000 drawings on the same-sized drawing paper. Flipping through these drawings, the viewer questions the meaning behind the imagery -- is the image a reflection on Horikawa's day, a riff on a concept that intrigued him, an exploration of a visual idea, or a response to a song he heard or a person he saw?
The worldview in each drawing is chaotic and complex, yet it manages to pull you into its unrealistic sense of order. Horikawa's drawings remind me of stories from Black Water, an anthology of fantastic literature edited by Alberto Manguel. Manguel defines fantastic literature as a genre that "makes use of our everyday world as a facade through which the undefinable appears, hinting at the half-forgotten dreams of our imagination. Unlike tales of fantasy...fantastic literature deals with what can be best defined as the impossible seeping into the possible, what Wallace Stevens calls 'black water breaking into reality'." Black Water contains short story gems from authors as varied as Jean Cocteau, Tennessee Williams and Tanizaki Junichiro. Each story has an utterly surreal, but complete logic of its own.
In Horikawa's Happy Ending, Horikawa draws what appears to be the East Village in NYC at the corner of Avenue B and 11th street. Perhaps late at night, a lone soul sits dejectedly on the sidewalk, while another straggling partyer proves to have drunken a bit too much (while her partner takes advantage of her). A ginormous cat loiters into the scene, unbeknownst to the humans around it. A "happy ending"? Depends on who you ask. Creepy? A bit. Mesmerizing? Entirely.
Here are some of Horikawa's other recent drawings.
The feeling of Horikawa's work has definitely changed over the course of the 1000Drawing Project. When he first started the project in 2007, his drawings seemed more sparse and slightly experimental in motif and use of lines. Over the course of 6 years, Horikawa appears to have become more confident both in his worldview and style.
You can go see Horikawa's last 100 drawings in 1000Drawing Project at Pierogi Gallery, between now and November 10. Horikawa should also have some works available for sale in Pierogi's flat files, so if you find a 'black onyx' of a drawing that speaks to you, inquire at Pierogi!
All images of work courtesy of Akira Horikawa