Daily Esow by ESOW
Bueno! Books 2019. ISBN 978-4-907354-38-1
Anyone who has spent time wandering the backstreets of Shibuya, pop culture heart of Tokyo, will be familiar with the work of ESOW. If not consciously then his ubiquitous characters will definitely have engrained themselves on the subconscious from their spot in shadowy doorways, peeking from closed shutters.
His most recent book Daily Esow is a complete rundown of the prolific artist's day to day output, ranging freely across mediums; graffiti, custom surfboard paint-jobs, sculptural objects, drawings, graphics, paintings and much more besides. A fully engrossing and fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the world as seen through the eyes of ESOW.
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Like many of us, the world opened up for ESOW when he started skateboarding in his early teens. A simple fun pastime suddenly becomes a reason to explore the city, regularly taking you further and further from home on the hunt for spots to skate. At the age of 17, ESOW was transplanted to US and through his routine urban exploration discovered graffiti culture. Now back in Tokyo, it's not necessarily his hallowed status in the city's skate or graffiti scenes that makes his work so exciting, but rather the uncanny ability to fuse traditional Japanese imagery, sensibility and characters with an idiosyncratic grafitero style. And when you combine all that with a complete lack of fear for new, classical and anything between mediums, ESOW's practise becomes a fascinating dialogue on East meets West. The perfect characterisation of Tokyo itself, obsessed with imported popular culture yet firmly gripped by tradition and very, very Japanese.