4002 – japanese bells

4002 - japanese bells
4002 – japanese bells

I wore my influences writ large as a teenager; from 1980 – 86 my bedroom was a hotch-potch of Oriental art and tat. Alongside the obligatory Japan (the band) posters, were some beautiful Japanese art prints my dad had procured for me, a giant bamboo Chinese parasol, paper lanterns, Japanese tea sets and some truly dreadful touristy junk I’d picked up in Chinatown and from flea markets. My teenage love of Oriental imagery was rekindled when I saw this print: it reminded me of being in my bedroom, staring at the paintings & prints, whilst sipping tea from a delicate cup and listening to Bamboo Houses (yes, I was that ridiculous!)……it spoke to the 15 year old me and it made me long for a time when my world revolved around…..well me, I suppose. It also made me ask questions; it is a tiny snap-shot of a room but I had no idea where or when it was taken. It is the only one of Steve’s prints where I actually yearn to see a colour version.

I bought a copy of the print last year and every time I looked at it, I wondered about the setting. I had always assumed it was a Japanese paper, or silk, screen (something I had longed to have in my room when I was that pretentious, self-absorbed teenager) and after months of second guessing, I decided to ask Steve about it. There were 3 things I was keen to know…..What is it? Where was it taken? Is there a colour version? Before he gave me the answers, he asked me what I thought it was all about, explaining that the answer may be far more mundane than I had imagined……..I told him my theory and this was his reply:

Richard Barbieri during Ippu-Do tour of Japan, 1983.
Richard Barbieri during Ippu-Do tour of Japan, 1983.

So, I was sort of correct in my assumption, which was a relief as I had started to think it may turn out to be something bizarre; like the packaging from some weird Japanese sweets or a box of washing powder.

Oh, and it was indeed a black and white image…….so I will have to continue to rely on my imagination when it comes to colouring in the rest of the picture……

This print is available to buy from Steve’s imageshop here: http://www.stevejansen.com/imageshop/4002_japanese_bells.html

The image of Rich is available on Steve’s sleepyard tumblr here: http://sleepyard.tumblr.com/post/110367787853/richard-barbieri-during-ippu-do-tour-of-japan

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