Danshichi Kurobei

Pigmonger, process

Pigmonger” will be on display at Mulan Gallery starting Oct 21-Nov 12. (Its really on Loke Yew Street off Armenian Street, near the Substation)

It’s the fourth (last?) of the Eric Khoo is a Hotel Magnate series, which partly examines public figures’ need for public personas to avoid any appearance of elitism. It deals in particular with Dr. Seet Ai Mee’s infamous handshake with a fishmonger in the 1991 Bukit Gombak elections (and her  interviews 18 years later she claimed that it was, in fact, a pork seller, and that she had washed her hands to avoid offending muslims.)

The other character that appears here is Danshichi Kurobei, a Japanese Kabuki character based on a real person, a fishmonger  who killed somebody in the middle of winter in 1697. Danshichi is an archetype of the Ôsaka otokodate, “heroes of the commoners because they were said to stick up for the little ones and protect the merchants neighborhoods from the injustices of the powerful.”

Early sketches:

Getting references is always a major part of the process for realism-based art, in this case it was a matter of trying to find what you could online, from fish, sumo wresters to old paintings of fish sellers…

But for more accurate representations you really need to get people to pose for you, and I coralled friends and family for the task :p That’s my aunt and mom in the second pic! 🙂

As well photos of  fish sellers (the one here was taken in Macau quite a whiles back)

A colour sketch was then done digitally…

After that I borrowed a projector to get the basic drawing onto the canvas (200x120cm). And left it untouched for about a year… until the show date neared and finally started working on the painting about 2 weeks back. Below are some pics of the work in progres…

K do drop by for the show at Mulan, there are lots of amazing pages by Koh Hong Teng as well, plus pages from Wonderland, Malinky Robot, Sense & Sensibility as well as some old comics (including Frankie & Poo!)

(ps: thanks to Taka from J Flash Studio for helping take a proper pic of the painting!)