Travel: Tokyo, post-trip thoughts

TOKYO SUBMARINE – Original oil painting by Ljubica (Luba) Todorovic.

Tokyo Submarine, original oil painting by Ljubica Todorovic 2018

An abstract representation of Tokyo nights. It is difficult to prepare one’s self for the brighter-than-daylight, otherworldly light which emanates from tightly packed towering buildings. I don’t travel a lot, and having grown up in a rather quiet place like Calgary, the “light pollution” of Shinjuku, Tokyo was quite a shock to me. I can see where Blade Runner took inspiration from. In my abstract interpretation of light-filled claustrophobia, angular structures have been softened and turned into round, sea-creature like shapes. 

Medium: Oil paint on 2″ profile deep MDF panel with plywood sides.
Year: 2018 | Size: 8 x 8″ x 2″ | Framed: No; wired & ready to hang.
Notes: Varnished with Gamblin Gamvar (gloss finish)

April 2018, Shinjuku – Tokyo, Japan

I visited Tokyo a year ago. I’ve made only two paintings about it so far, but the places lingers in my mind still and more will come.

Night time in Shinjuku was very, very bright. It seemed to be brighter than daylight, over in the Shinjuku and Shibuya area. We did manage to find pockets of quietness and dimness, crossing on foot from Shibuya to Ueno, but it was mostly Blade Runner-eseque the entire time. Interestingly enough, the city does quiet down after 11 pm.

Tokyo Study (Shinjuku), 5″x7″, oil on canvas board. SOLD

Daytime was a different world; people everywhere, walking to the trains. Suits rushing by, high heels clacking, tourists leisurely strolling around the working-hour streets. Best coffee and eggs I have ever tasted, and I can’t even write – or think – about the maguro (tuna nigiri) because it was so damn good. The cuts we get in Canada are pale, watery and metallic-tasting. “Red tuna” isn’t even a thing in Japan, because all tuna is red. Canadian sushi joints use the wording as if it were a different species altogether. What I didn’t know was that in Japan, tuna has different textures and fatness levels.

Daytime also smelled of really old wood, particularly in the shrines, gardens and forest areas. I am not sure what species of tree was used for all of those shrines. We were in Tokyo for barely two weeks and its like we only saw 1% of the city, maybe less. I would like to go back there someday.

Edgar Degas, Three Dancers In the Wings, 1880-85, Oil on canvas
National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan


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