An Amalgamation of Power and Paint: Gajin Fujita, Los Angeles Street Art, and Images of Edo Japan

In: Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas

The paintings of Gajin Fujita (b. 1972) express the urban Asian diasporic experience in vivid images filled with historic and contemporary cultural references. Creating an amalgamation of contemporary sports figures, hip-hop culture, historic Japanese painting conventions, street art, and the visual language of Edo Japan (1600–1868), Fujita reflects his diverse experiences as a citizen of twenty-first century Los Angeles in his paintings. This article introduces the artist and provides a nuanced examination of his works vis-à-vis an understanding of the larger issues addressed in both Edo artistic practice and contemporary street art culture. By specifying the agents of power and performance in Fujita’s works, a greater understanding of the hybrid world of his colourful graphic paintings can be found.

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