Tokyo is full of memorable sights. I have just finished three commissions for collectors who wanted to commemorate their stay in Japan with a striking image of the city.
But where to start? The obvious places...Tokyo Tower...Rainbow bridge at sunset...Shibuya crossing? The view from your office or apartment? And whether to include family members in the composition.
All are possible. With the right kind of source material - and a bit of imagination - good ideas can result...
One of my clients came to me with a request for a painting which would be archetypally `Japan`, including if at all possible their two cute young boys, Henry and Elliott. Oh, and by the way, we all love trains, so any chance of including trains in such a picture?
After a couple of meetings and an exchange of family photographs I came up with two concepts along these lines: the first, shown above, an imaginary scene incorporating the Shinjuku skyline with Mount Fuji as the backdrop to the Tohoku Shinkansen with the Tokyo station signboard framing the scene. In the foreground the two boys look on, dwarfed and awed by the great metropolis and the sleek teal shinkansen carriage.
The second concept required a good deal of collaboration and discussion to agree the type of trains, how to show the boys and a complicated perspective. We chose the Tohoku shinkansen again as they have such colourful carriages with that distinctive elongated front.
We went through several iterations with different guards and passengers featured before agreeing on one in which the boys walk out past the trains, seemingly unconcerned and safe in their own private world of brotherly communion. Two little lives - one vast metropolis.
The third artwork turned out to be my biggest cityscape yet: a huge 2 metre by 1 metre canvas showing the view from Roppongi down to Azabudai, Tokyo Tower, the Tokyo American Club and in the distance Tokyo Bay.
The client wanted a statement piece for their home back in Florida, something to remind them of the magnificent view from their Roppongi Hills apartment.
In this case there was no shortage of source material. The client had taken many superb photographs of this captivating view at all times of the day and night. 89 of which found their way into my inbox!
It was almost impossible to choose. In the end we agreed on a moody dawn shot taken in January. The sun is rising above the bay on a misty morning. The buildings are in deep shadow with colour restricted to the orange of the sky and its reflections in the water.
The finished piece is now on its way to the US and will hopefully provide many happy memories of living in Tokyo. If you would like to commission something similar to remind you of your time in this amazing country, please contact me at email@example.com or post a comment to this blog.
Finally I have two cityscape paintings available for sale. One of the Manhattan skyline taken from the Rockefeller building, currently on display at the ACCJ offices. The other - Geronimo! - shows Roppongi crossing at dawn. Contact me for prices!