Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mars Tokyo -A Universe of Fantastic Art

Mars Tokyo

I love this woman's art!

Mars Tokyo, is a Baltimore artist with whom I am acquainted through the online social network, Live Journal. Her work as a whole is so compelling that it is difficult to choose one specific area to write about. She makes pastels, jewelry...She keeps detailed and fascinating travel dairies and other visual dairies...She draws...There is just so much!! And I love all of it....so I'll write about several areas and trust that you will check out her web site at the end, but I have to warn you. Once you get started, you'll be there all day...

The current series by Mar Tokyo is called, “Black on Black” and consists of intricate mazes of graphite pencil over India ink that are inspired by her recent treatment for major depression which included treatments of Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT)which has has emulated in these works.

Number 7

“They are made on Arches paper, soaked with India Ink, and drawn or painted in graphite using one continuous line. The ennervation in the unsteady wiggles was the best I could do to convey the experience of getting ECT. These are the first phase of the series.”

Number 16


Mars also creates spirited pastel scenes from life replete with energetic marks disbursed throughout the surface of each piece giving each a sense of vibrant energy.

The Angry Dinner

Pinky's Bar
The Logistics of Divorce


The work by Mars Tokyo that I find most compelling is her creation of “tiny theaters”, each a miniature tableau created by combining images adopted from literature, film, politics and psychology. She works small intentionally, both as a challenge to herself and as an invitation to the viewer to peer deeper into what is happening in each scenario.
Tiny Theater
This photo shows the exterior of Teatro della Fenditura, with a penny for scale. Exteriors are finished with handmade marbled papers, hand painted columns, and feature a variety of insets in the skylight, including delicate embossed glassine papers. Rooftop lids are removeable for cleaning and inspection.
The Temptation

She writes, “My purpose with this series is to create 3 dimensional formal narrative compositions on the smallest easily visible scale, in order to invite the viewer to an intimate experience with the art.”
Good Girls Marry


“ By approaching work on such a tiny scale, the viewer becomes a unique participant. We move out of our everyday reality and are transported into fantastic worlds, a fraction the size of our common reality.”

The Greatest Greed

“Theaters provided a stage on which visual drama could be composed. They also draw the viewer inside, not only due to their miniature size, but by the idea that drama is taking place within. To some extent the subject matter is narrative, but to a greater extent the content remains open to individual interpretation, which I encourage.”


The theater assemblages range in size from
3.25"W x 4"H x 4.75"D to 1.25"W x 2.5"H x 2.75"D

Homage to Marilyn

“Each display is twice covered, first by a velvet curtain which is drawn aside, then by a miniature scale model door which is opened. Upon opening the door, the viewer is greeted by the lighted display of a single “theater” displayed against black for maximum impact. The anticipation of viewing the work and interaction required to do this, becomes an important part of the experience. “

The King of New Orleans
The Bird Cage

Hello Goodbye

“The 3-D miniature scaled assemblages have a second component, which is 2-D and greatly enlarged in scale. When the 3-D assemblages are completed, I use a digital camera with a macro close-up lens and photograph the interiors of the work. I then enlarge and print the photos, and also upload them to an online website devoted to viewing the 2-D enlargements of the 3-D miniature works.

The Arab

In using the camera to translate the pieces into 2-D illusions, I became much more aware of the shifting compositions within the pieces. Because the camera sees differently than the naked eye, and can only take in one perspective, that of the lens, the dramas become fixed formal compositions of light, color and shape.


The Grotto


With this second 2-D enlarged component, the scale shifts drastically and becomes ambiguous for the viewer who is no longer given an intimate and empowering experience. Now the viewer relates in the expected way most art is shown--without drama, or interaction, and at a distance. With the existence of both formats, this body of work plays with the issues of scale, intimacy, and empowerment within our process of looking
at art.

The Bride
The Bride (detail)

Subject matter for my theaters comes as a result of my ongoing inner dialog, and responds directly to personal thoughts, ideas or current issues I feel a need to address. “
The Cards
The Cards (detail)



Mars Tokyo is represented by
Barrister’s Gallery in New Orleans. Read more about Mars Tokyo and check out her visual diaries HERE.
Barbie in Love

Click around on the site. You won’t believe all of the fascinating art she has produced! She even makes jewelry!
Jewelry by Mars Tokyo

You can pick up all kinds of Mars Tokyo goodies at her CafĂ© Press store here: Mars Tokyo Designs . …but whatever you do, don’t stop until you have seen her HEAD MUSEUM!


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