Ozu Tofu - the works

How's this vacuum cleaner?
Sorry I'm late.
Wind the clock. It's about to stop.
Would you happen to have a couple of extra tomatoes?
You mustn't become and old maid.
The green hue of the pines.

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.

Ozu Tofu

“I only know how to make tofu. . . ."
Ozu Tofu presents six servings of vanilla; as alternate cuts of cinematic environments - freeze frames, drawn from a moving object. More specifically, they each rework a single frame extracted from An Autumn Afternoon (Sanma no aji, 1962), the masterful epilogue created by one of the world’s most influential cinematic directors - Yasujirō Ozu (12 December 1903 – 12 December 1963).

Venerated for his seemingly economic approach to storytelling, both in terms of visual composition and narrative, exploration of Ozu’s oeuvre reveals a much more complex, and profoundly nuanced presentation of life, captured in a rapidly changing Japan. This somewhat philosophical mise-en-scène he modestly hid within the suggestion that his movies were simply tofu; either fried, boiled or stuffed. Ozu argued that he was fashioning movies which were unfancy, and ostensibly everyday. To that end, this humanistic approach categorises his pictures as shōshimin-eiga - realist depictions of mainstream normality. Latterly, he also touched on social commentary, overlapping traditional themes with contemporary drama - a style known as Gendai-geki.

The sextet of compositions comprising Ozu Tofu extract some of the emblematic and distinctive punctuation points for which the director was known. His ‘pillow shots’ would counter traditional advancement of film narrative - cutting between active scenes with a more or less still image - sustained over a sufficient count of time to facilitate contemplation; both of a relative and more existential nature. These intermediate pause points were deliberately fashioned by Ozu, as a means to enter meditative silence, forcing the viewer into introspective deliberation. In addition, the poetic meaning, and obsessive attention to detail layered within his film work, suggested a strong association with the Japanese concept of mono no aware, which roughly translates as the ‘pathos of things’ - this the beauty of impermanence; celebrating the transient splendour of the ephemeral.

As a set of minimalistic works; apropos the Director’s specific modus - simple, visual poetry, built from deeper philosophical ideals - Ozu Tofu exists in a flattened, paired-down tableau of three-dimensional space. They juxtapose the Japanese auteur’s own framing approach - of spatial and social divides, frames within frames (to some extent emotional metaphors of the ubiquitous Shoji screens) - with a deference to the later, geometric compositions of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, and the graphic depictions of urban architecture painted by American artist Ed Ruscha, where the banality of urban life becomes elevated into the art of the everyday. Furthermore, employment of complex grids featuring actors, and the evolving storyline, allude to the multi-paned cartoon infrastructure of Manga comics.

For Ozu, it was not only framing that he focussed on, but colour, and more specifically red. An Autumn Afternoon is one of the six colour films, that he shot, using German Agfacolor film stock. This he preferred over the more widely used Eastman Kodak, as it pushed reds into a prominent spectral depiction. Takashi Kawamata, the chief assistant cinematographer for Ozu’s later films, suggested the Director favoured the ‘half-asleep’ chroma of Agfacolor. With a variety of strategically-placed objects of bold, sanguine toning, Ozu’s colour obsession even found its way into the movie’s script, as states one of the artwork’s titles - Would you happen to have a couple of extra tomatoes?

Embracing a defined set of colour hues, Ozu Tofu pushes a largely muted palette, periodically punctured by bursts of deliberately-placed crimson. These six pauses in the life of the fictional Hirayama family are recalibrated using a contemporary brush, each overlayed with a spectral trace of Ozu’s hand-written script notation; an ethereal presence within each and every serving of tofu; where simplicity can evoke notions of complexity, and still can become moving. As a meditation on time and space, these works suggest a conscious interruption; an attempt to capture the beauty hidden within the everyday; where each work’s title is in itself a subtitle, extracted from its proximity to the point of suspension.

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.

Thirty-five tales


 

Thirty-five tales.

Limited edition of 35. Signed and numbered.
Hahnemühle German Etching pigment print.
42 x 29cm.

£175

[shipping options below]

As a supporter of Farm Sanctuary, and in recognition of their thirty-five years providing a sanctuary to farm animals, this artwork is available to purchase worldwide.



Select a location option from the dropdown menu then proceed.





Farm Sanctuary fights the disastrous effects of animal agriculture on animals, the environment, social justice, and public health through rescue, education, and advocacy.

Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of factory farming, advocate for institutional reforms, and encourage a new awareness and understanding of farm animals and the benefits of cruelty-free, plant-based living. In recent years, science has confirmed the inhumane and destructive impact of animal agriculture — a food system based on interrelated oppression and injustice.

As the founding farm animal Sanctuary in the U.S., Farm Sanctuary has rescued and provided refuge for countless survivors of the animal agriculture system. Today, at Farm Sanctuary’s Los Angeles, CA and Watkins Glen, NY Sanctuaries you will find nearly 1,000 rescued animals—each with an individual story to tell. These survivors are ambassadors, representing the billions of farm animals currently in the system. They, and others like them, have changed the hearts and minds of a generation.



All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.

HARK - The Artworks

Hark - a spraypaint artwork of an angel by artist James Straffon

GLORIA
Acrylic, graffiti marker, spraypaint on canvas. 122 x 244cm.
The Westbury, London N22.
POA

Hark - a spraypaint artwork of an angel by artist James Straffon

Hark - a spraypaint artwork of an angel by artist James Straffon

Hark - a spraypaint artwork of an angel by artist James Straffon

THE LET US [S]PRAY SERIES
Hark - a spraypaint artwork of an angel by artist James Straffon
Click above image to view the LET US [S]PRAY series
Hark - a spraypaint artwork of an angel by artist James Straffon


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.

100e - the prints


The Race of Time
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950


A Tour de France limited edition print artwork by artist James Straffon

Now to th’ ascent of that steep savage hill
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950


A Tour de France limited edition print artwork by artist James Straffon

Chase anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950


A Tour de France limited edition print artwork by artist James Straffon

Ministers of Vengeance and Pursuit
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950


A Tour de France limited edition print artwork by artist James Straffon

Of Patience and Heroic Martyrdom
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950


A Tour de France limited edition print artwork by artist James Straffon

The Verdurous wall of Paradise
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950


A Tour de France limited edition print artwork by artist James Straffon

Majestic though in ruin
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950


A Tour de France limited edition print artwork by artist James Straffon

Till Pride and worse Ambition threw me down
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950



Demy-Gods on golden seats
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950

A Tour de France limited edition print artwork by artist James Straffon

Pandaemonium
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950


A Tour de France limited edition print artwork by artist James Straffon

Our torments also may in length of time become our elements
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950



Of darkness do we dread?
Archival pigment print on Hahnmühle German Etching 310 gsm
Size 1: 20 x 16 inches / 50 x 40 cm. A limited edition of 20, signed and numbered on the front. £595
Size 2: 38 x 30 inches / 95 x 76 cm. A limited edition of 5, signed and numbered on the front. £1,950


100e - celebrating 100 editions of the Tour de France.

The 100e is an allegorical monograph, comprising twelve plates; each individually capturing a phase of the Tour's history - montaging the places, faces, moments, phrases, language that form its overall chronology. Beneath the competition itself, lies a framework built around three creative icons - John Milton (1608–1674), Francisco Goya (1746–1828), and Salvador Dali (1904–1989). For context, Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost (originally published in 1667) provides the fundamental themes: Descent and ascent; Light and dark; Immortality; Conflict; The fall; Restoration; Chaos; Rebellious angels; the anti-hero; temptation; vanity; self-deification; the pursuit of Paradise. Critically, it also introduces the theological concept of ‘felix culpa’ - or ‘fortunate fall’ - which suggests evils occur in order to bring about a greater good. Structurally, Milton’s ‘poem in twelve books’ provides the schema, from which the twelve titles that comprise 100e are extracted: 

Of darkness do we dread? 
Now to th’ ascent of that steep savage hill
Chase anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain 
Pandaemonium 
Demy-Gods on golden seats 
Majestic though in ruin 
Our torments also may in length of time become our elements 
The Race of Time 
Till Pride and worse Ambition threw me down 
Ministers of Vengeance and Pursuit 
The verdurous wall of paradise 
Of Patience and Heroic Martyrdom
In 1974, artist Salvador Dali further explored the books of Milton’s Paradise Lost, culminating in Paradis Perdu - a set of ten prints, published by the L’Automobile Club de France. Finally, 100e revisists Francisco Goya’s Los Caprichos - eighty aquatint prints created by the Spanish artist; published as an album in 1799. Los Caprichos functioned as a satirical critique of the society in which he lived. Here, American art historian David Rosand suggests “Goya turned the inventive powers of the artist back upon his audience with indicting moral force”, simultaneously “Pressing the limits of poetic license”. This ‘caricature’ portrayal maps how 100e is illustrated - the Tour de France, with all its many facets, reworked with the fidelity of a Lichenstein Pop Art cartoon; both as a study, and a critique. In addition, the photo-montaged image of each 100e plate faithfully embodies the working method of the Dadaist ‘monteurs’ (mechanics), who incorporated actual press photography into their artwork. From L’Auto to L’Équipe, 100e extracts its core content from the very press pages circulated throughout the Tour’s epic history. 

This exhibition carries a unique foreword - Imaging the Century - written by Graeme Fife, author of The Beautiful Machine.

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.

Let-Us-Spray print series

HARK #1-15
Spraypaint on 600gsm Seawhite archival card
420 x 594mm

This first series is SOLD OUT.
For new commissions please send an email here > shop@james-straffon.co.uk

Featuring the chorus:
Fly on my sweet angel
Fly on through the sky
Fly on my sweet angel
Tomorrow I'm gonna be by your side

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

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SOLD


All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.

Herne Hill - limited edition print

A Herne Hill limited edition cycling artwork created by artist James Straffon

To commemorate the inaugural World Cycling Revival Festival the Herne Hill print pays homage to the world famous Herne Hill Velodrome - the host venue for the festival.

Located along the steep banks of this iconic track lay some of the great and good who have graced the boards - Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Tom Simpson, Reg Harris and the inimitable Beryl Burton.

Herne Hill
Print size: 65 x 45cm.
65 x 45cm
£250 [print]
£350 [framed - acrylic double-tray frame]

For buying enquiries shop@james-straffon.co.uk

The artwork is a pigment print on archive standard Hahnemuhle German Etching Fine Art Paper.

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.

When The Fox met The Rooster - Limited Edition Prints

Archival pigment print.
Image size: 38cm x 30cm. Print size: 54 x 42cm.
Signed and numbered. Limited Edition of 12 Worldwide.
£350 [includes signed Certificate of Authenticity, packaging and postage]
For buying inquires, please email shop@james-straffon.co.uk
LE PETIT RAMONEUR
THE FARMER FROM MAMER

L'UOMO PIO DI FERRO
THE ANGEL OF THE MOUNTAINS

THE EAGLE FROM TOLEDO
MONSIEUR CHRONO

MISTER TOM
LE CANNIBALE

ETERNALLY SECOND
IL PIRATA

THE MANX MISSILE
ANDY

A Tour de France cycling artwork featuring Maurice Garin created by artist James Straffon

Nicolas Frantz - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg

Gino Bartali - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg

Charly Ghaul - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg

Frederico Bahamontes - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg

Jacques Anquetil - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg

Tom Simpson - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg

Eddy Merckx - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg

Joop Zoetemelk - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg

Marco Pantani - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg


Andy Schleck - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg

Mark Cavendish - James Straffon cycling art When the Fox met The Rooster, Luxembourg

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2021.