Shoes and handbags are not accessories in Tokyo - they are the essentials.
It is therefore appropriate that an exhibition featuring these fashion
items, which is to tour the world would make its debut here. An exhibition
of twenty pairs of shoes and bags by artists, illustrators and designers
from around the world is on display in trendy Daikanyama.
However, these are not your usual designer bags. The exhibition involves
a seemingly odd mix of skateboarding sneakers and dress handbags. The
artists, mainly from skateboarding and street-wear design backgrounds,
have added their personal touches to white blanks of these products. The
results are an interesting mix of fun and fashion. They are supported
by a display of the original drawings, prints and photos on which they
The exhibition's title, 'this is ME', expresses not only the autobiographical
nature of the artwork but also the status of fashion items such as shoes
and handbags in defining our personalities. Some stand out shoes 'n bags
were by French artists\designer, Marke Newton, who was also co-organizer
of the exhibition. His work borrows from a tradition of 17 th century
drawing and woodblock printing. Drawn in marker pen, a mounted knight
in immaculate detail, takes on a pop image on the sides of the skater
The exhibition includes twenty artists, including French fashion designer,
Jean Charles De Castelbajac, U.S. cartoon illustrator and skateboard designer,
Andy Howell and Mambo, a design label synonymous with the skate and surf
Another big name in skateboarding is Eli Morgan Gesner from Zoo York Skateboards
in New York. His work a photo image of the city which is reworked in marker
pen, adds a serious note to this otherwise light exhibition. Gesner's
piece recalls the tragic events in NY from last year.
Four Japanese artists and illustrators are in the show. They include Graphic-Designer
Hiro Sugiyama. His work titled Enlightenment is an elegant piece of color
and portraiture. Two photographer\designers Keiji Ito and Akira Somekawa
also make designs, which vary, from the usual raucous board scene style.
Similarly Russian jewelry designer and only woman artist included in the
exhibition, Irina Volkonski, brings a touch of sparkle to the usual grittiness
of street wear.
The Japanese illustrator, Imaitoonz , worked with UK illustrators James
Jarvis and Simon True to create graffiti-like cartooning all over the
gallery's windows and set the style of the show. Simon True was also responsible
for the delightful animation that is showing in the exhibition.
The exhibition begins its world tour in Tokyo and later travels to Los
Angeles, New York, London, and Paris. It is a fun exhibition and an opportunity
to sneak a look into the fashion and style of the cultish world of skateboarding.