Sui Sui by Esow
Bueno! Books 2014. ISBN 978-4907354107
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.
Sui Sui was ESOW's first ever book, published by Tokyo's iconic Bueno! Books.
Bueno! Books are a 1% for the Planet member and have pledged to give one percent of all their sales to grassroots environmental organisations.
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.