A quick trip to Nobrow's Gallery in Shoreditch over the weekend revealed a wonderful new book illustrated by Ben Newman. The Bento Bestiary sees the Bristol-based artist reinventing Japanese Yokai demons in a striking, bold style.
Here's the blurb about the book:
"In the 18th Century, Japanese artist Toriyama Sekien attempted to depict each spirit of the ‘yokai’ tradition; an ancient race of demons whose descendants would later terrorise the earth under the guises of Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan. Now, two Bristolian men aim to rediscover the near-forgotten Yokai, and return these ancient beasts to their former glory, in the form of the Bento Bestiary.
Fourteen spirits and demons are lovingly rendered by Ben Newman in the bold and colourful illustration style we have come to expect from him. Newman draws heavily on early and mid-20th century design in his work, incorporating worldwide themes from European deco to Japanese film posters and 50’s American cartoons, never losing his strong sense of a most English deadpan humour.
Each image is complimented with words from S J Donaldson. Whether detailing the love letters of Nure-onna (a gigantic snake-headed woman), or a poetic treatise on the child-eating desires of the Kappa (a sort of strange, perverted turtle), the writer always has one foot in the carnival tent, one on the streets of noir, and the other inside a restaurant; a sort of freakish, hungry, Raymond Chandler."
Also of note was the latest issue of their showcase magazine, Nobrow 4 -- which features a neat cover by McBess, and work from ora Krug, Stefanie Schilling, McBess, Michael Kirkham, Sean Hudson, Jim Stoten, Jack Teagle, and Tom Rowe.
Nobrow will be open for late night shopping for last-minute Christmas gifts this Thursday and next, alongside other Shoreditch creative stores incuding Print Club London, Pure Evil and Concrete Hermit.