Sunday, February 28, 2010
I know a couple of friends (all brothers) who tattooed on their bodies a bonsai tree to represent their father who passed away about 5 years ago. I think tattoos that have so much meaning behind it exudes much more beauty than that of something done on a whim. Mason pretty much touched based on this in class how so many people come in with ridiculous tattoos and I would find that hard to understand. I guess I'm very conscious about how I portray myself with the way I was raised in a conservative family, so it's especially harder for me to understand random tattoos like so. I remember chatting with a bunch of friends. We discussed what the worse tattoos could possibly be and I thought it would be a bar code or your own name.
But, as weird as it may be, i think this is an awesome tattoo! Spiderman FTW! (For the win for those of you who are a bit behind on internet acronyms).
Sickness disallows me to go out and about and consume, so I have been doing well in that factor
Now onward to the context of this week’s reading, Commodification where goods now part of a transnational or international market were once important traditions of symbols of a culture. Several examples are “Lucky Bamboo”, Henna tattoos and former religious icons. Transnational ethnic groups are commonly associated with these Commodified products since it is through interaction with these groups that the mainstream culture creates a market for them. If you walk to any Chinatown you will find stores based on selling cheap reproductions of religious statues, ancient artifacts and any kind of fusion of art/clothing styles. While it does seem disrespectful to the culture being commodified, it is a business practice that has the power the create markets and be a powerful tool in creating businesses in both the Western and Eastern Spheres and has proved to be beneficial the international economy.
The film we saw in class. Yellow Apparel: When the Coolie becomes Cool, exemplifies this growing division in our society, where some people think that they have no culture, so they adopt certain parts of someone else’s. Now this is not a terrible thing it is not even a disrespectful thing it is just a misguided gesture that in some cases causes people to be enraged because of their ignorance. However there is no huge harm done from Madonna wearing a Bhindi, or some people getting their history or supposed “cultural” insight wrong because it is evidence that there is interaction which is progress from years of ignoring and hiding those who are different.
However the reason people get angry over it is not wrong either. The ignorance someone has for adopting a part of another’s culture without even bothering to understand it is a hostile act, to which makes that personal part of someone’s culture less important. Selling trinkets of Buddha that light up and makes amusing noises and plays come stereotypical Asian tune down plays the importance of Buddha and his teachings, just like if someone were to do the same to Jesus, Christians would be angry.
Claire Dwyer. “Tracing Transnationalities Through Commodity Culture.” Class Reader.
Student Film: Yellow apparel: when the coolie becomes cool (from class)
However, we cannot believe that people are truly comfortable or accepting of all new cultures or new perspectives which must be integrated into their culture. For example, at UCSD there was a noose that was hung up in the library by students who were responding to the Black student union at UCSD. With the commodification of culture and the transnational relationships which are being built, people are having to deal with cultures, beliefs, and practices which are not their own. WE must continue to push forward and move beyond these uncomfortable feelings in order to really begin to accept other cultures and other races. This is related to fashion, because we do not want to see the commodification of our races and our cultures in life or in fashion. In fashion, often times cultures are commodified and taken advantage of and we no longer can pretend that this diversity really exists in peace.
Here are pictures of what happened at the LGBTRC.
Aggie article: http://theaggie.org/article/2010/02/26/letter-lgbtrc-vandalized
Dwyer article: in Class reader: "Tracing Transnationalities through commodity culture" Transnational Spaces New: York Routledge Publishing, 2004. 60-77
Pictures are from my Friends from Facebook.
For instance, this tattoo of a Koi has lots of elements from Japanese wood carving arts; the waves are similar to those you see in the Fuji mountain print, and the Koi itself is a fish with Asian origins. It was also part of a full body tattoo in the reader. A lot of us already talked about how Japanese full body style tattoos are growing in popularity. Also, I think the connotation of tattoos being for gangsters and bad people are starting to wear off. I know many people who are ordinary people who have tattoos, and if you watch Miami Ink you'll notice that everyone now a days that get tattoos are regular people. So this gangsta/mob stigma, definitely worn off.
I plan to get a tattoo myself too, but the only thing stopping me is that I have no idea what to get. I don't want any sort of spur of the moment thing and get something lame like a dragon, or some Chinese character on my body. I want something that represents me and I'll be proud to show it off because it has some sort of significance. I think the beauty of tattoos is that they make abstract things concrete. For the Japanese full body tattoos, they depict a full story. For the more Americanized pop tattoo shops they depict things such as a lost family/friend, or a moment in life they want to memorialize. Plus, according to the people on Miami Ink, the tattooing experience can be very therapeutic in relieving the pain of losing someone or something.
Compact challenge update, I sort of ended my streak of success with a recent purchase of new lenses for my Camera. However, I think it's not such a big loss because the lenses will allow me to take stalker pictures and macro shots and actually has a purpose. However, I'm not rationalizing the purchase, I will agree I broke the rules, but it was worth it for this purchase as I have been saving up for it. So technically if I have been planning to buy it anyways it's not wasteful purchase is it?
Blog number 9
Paul Mulluowney Ed. Wood Skin Ink: The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing. Caroline Valverde Ed. ASA 189B Winter 2010, reader.
Outside source: http://tlc.discovery.com/fansites/miami-ink/slideshow/user_gallery/gallery4/gallery/afi13.jpg
I learned in a Chican@ Studies class I took last year - United States & Mexico Border Relations - that this is completely intentional. And not for the purposes of efficiency or safety, but for one simple reason: if an individual does not see a product from inception to completion, that individual is not likely to see the value of their work in relation to the value of the finished product.
So what gives a fashion designer an "enduring reputation"? According to Kawamura, the designer can't have just short-term success--to lose relevance means you no longer have the status as a designer. This means that you have to continue to put on shows, make clothes, be a part of the French trade system--otherwise who is going to remember you? Certainly not the suppliers or professionals who previously provided you with workmanship.
This reminded me of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen's situation. After McQueen's tragic suicide just days before this year's Fashion Week, everyone was wondering: what's going to happen to his fashion label? While the designer was certainly memorable--his alien-esque runway models and mile high, lobster hand-looking heels shocked the public--his line was still new, his name was just beginning to become world-reknowned outside of the fashion sphere, and his label actually didn't make that much money (launched in 2001, he didn't break even until 2007). While he had a "symbolic capital"--unique aesthetic--which brought him much status and fame, his line in question was not fully established yet. While Gucci Group has been announced to be continuing McQueen's line, it is not guaranteed to be successful without the personality of its original designer, which I believe to be its reason for success and fame. Only time will tell if socio-cultural-economical capital is enough to keep the label going without its amazing designer.
Kawamura, "Fashion as an Institutionalized System"
NYTimes Article "Alexander McQueen Line to Continue"
Photos from NYMag.com, Alexander McQueen's Spring 2010 RTW Collection.
Tattoos in Japan have undergone a rich and enduring history. Mullowney asserts that Japanese tattoos have had a history in woodblock cut outs. Japanese tattooing relies heavily on ancient art. There is a certain style and form necessary in creating a certain aesthetic. This article also talks about emerging tattoo artists that are involved in primarily Japanese art and styles. Of American decent, these artists have traveled to Japan and studied the intricate art form. Mullowney attributes the increase in popularity of Japanese art to the imperialization of Japan during the Meiji Restoration. According to this article, tattoos in Japan have a negative stigma attached to them. Those with tattoos in Japan are normally stereotyped as affiliates of the Yakuza. However, new emerging artists are attempting to alter this misconceived notion, and develop tattoo into a legitimate art form. One artist that has been gaining immense popularity, especially amongst working class young people, is Don Ed Hardy. He is an American artist known for his adaption of Japanese art. Ironically, he is in high demand in Japan as young working class people now want tattoos reminiscent of Americana. These images include eagles that show their interest in American culture.
Below is a picture of the artist Don Ed Hardy
I find tattoo art incredibly interesting. Unlike other art forms, tattoo art to me is the most intimate. Essentially, it is art that physically and literally becomes a part of your body. The description of tattoo art in this week's reading seem to perfectly illustrate the idea that tattoos are highly symbolic. Regardless of the actual tattoo, they remain symbols and markers for various things. I had always known that various ranks in the Japanese mafia are identified by tattoos. However, I was not aware of how extensive these pieces of art were.
The Compact Challenge is near its end. I have yet to purchase anything that is completely new, except for of course essentials. I feel much more accomplished. Instead of frivolusly spending my hard earned money on trivial things, I can allocate that money to other things. I also realized that since I have not been online shopping, I have become more productive. As we all know, online shopping is a full time thing. It is a constant search for new arrivals, deals, etc. The compact challenge in a sense has taught me to use my time more wisely.
Paul Mullowney Ed. "Wood Skin Ink: The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing" Reader.
Pic # 1
Pic # 2
Cultures are interconnecting. Dwyer et al. provides an analysis on different range of food and fashion on explaining contemporary and spreading across the world. The commodity culture can provide an alternative way of understanding contemporary transnationality. Transnational commodity culture provides an entry point into this “wider conceptualization of transitional space” (Dwyer et al. 446). Thus, the commodity culture is able widen the study of transnational space to encompass individual’s activities, goods, and ideas. Beyond the narrow confines of specific ethnically defined communities, Dwyer et al. encompasses all who inhabit the contemporary commodity culture as a transnational space.
By analyzing British South Asians’ commodity culture in relation to food and fashion, Dwyer et al. states that transnational commodity culture is a “space which is habited by a whole range of differently position actors, including producers, wholesalers, buyers and retailers…” (448). Vertovec provides the example of the Southeast Asian production surrounding the commodity flows between India and Britain in the economy context. Rather than focusing on the narrow defines of transmigrants, it is important to seek other factors that explain and refigure the study of trasnantionalism. By moving beyond the definition of specific ethnically defined communities, we can have a better understanding of commodity and the current fashion for commodifying differences.
Compact Challenge: I was in Oakland over the weekend for Mariah Carey’s concert. If you like her, well… you didn’t miss anything. She was pretty lazy and didn’t do much. The most action was her drinking “apple juice” from a wine glass. I only spent $40 dollars, and surprisingly it was not on clothes, but alcohol. Also been busy working on course papers so I haven’t had time to feed my addiction (online shopping). Though, I'm eying this necklace from Juicy Couture...
Dwyer, Claire et al. “Transnationalism and the Spaces of Commodity Culture.” Progress in Human Geography 27.4 (2003): 438-456. Web. 28 Feb. 2010.
Vertovec, Steve. “Conceiving and Researching Trasnationalism.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 22.2 (1999): 1-14. Web. 28 Feb. 2010.
What I found interesting about Ed Hardy was that he not only became a pioneer for Japanese style tattooing in the US, but he also knows quite a bit about the art itself. He is a perfect blend of someone who is knowledgeable in tattoo art and graphic arts as well.
Now when it comes down to how I feel about people like Ed Hardy, I am kind of torn with what he is doing. It's great that someone like him is bringing back Japanese tattoo, and in fact changing the connotation of Japanese Tattoo in many ways to Japanese in Japan, I am not too happy with the way he is doing it. Yes he is bringing back a seemingly doomed style of art that was, since 600 ad for Japanese gangsters, but now that it is brought back from the dead, and is now "booming" I feel there is a problem. When something so beautiful and traditional as Japanese tattoo art is blown up on a mainstream level, it has this effect of peaking very quickly in popularity and then subsiding soon there after. What I worry about, is that just like any fads or styles that blew up so quickly and died so quickly after, in a sense this mainstream publicity of Japanese tattoo will sooner than later bring the art to its grave. Think about it this way: If you leave something alone that has its strong supportive followers, though few in number, it will hold its value and respect among the community that keeps it alive. When you publicize something that is socially and culturally exclusive to a mainstream level, you lose the strong and loyal community that initially kept it alive before it became popular on the mainstream level. Once something loses its true followers because of its now mainstream popularity, its only a matter of time before mainstream popularity subsides and completely cripples that style or fad; leaving it in the dust. I think this is far worse, in the end, rather than keeping something exclusive so that it doesn't get "played out" on a mainstream level. True, it won't be internationally known, but at least it will keep a steady consistency and stay alive. On top of this, because it is mainstream, people put their own incorporations and styles into the Japanese style and art, and little by little kill the art this way. Before you know it we're going to have our own "style" of Japanese tattoo. I just don't like it.
"Hardy’s colorful and exotic tattoo designs-cum-artwork seem to help sell just about anything. Cruise around the local mall or online and you will find Ed Hardy sweaters, jeans, shower curtains, golf carts, nasal strips and lollipops."
As far as the compact challenge goes, I've done a good job of not buying any clothing. When I find something that I like, I make sure to check where it was made, etc. I guess one good thing to know is, I tend not to buy too much hyped and mainstream clothing. Most of my clothes that have any print on them are skate clothes from small companies from California and the Midwest.
Outside Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/us/13sftattoo.html
Article: Paul Mullowney Ed. "Wood Skin Ink: The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing".
In the article “The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing,” I thought it was interesting how Japanese tattoos has deep roots as a form of art, at the same time also has the affiliation with the world of the Japanese Mafia. However, things are beginning to change as the younger generations are getting similar tattoos despite the stereotypes that tattoos are for thugs. Far from the Yakuza gangs, youths are getting tattoos as a way to get in touch with their Japanese-ness. Similar to this, in America the views of tattoos have begun to change rapidly over time. According to a New York Times article, “It’s hard to look authentically rebellious or menacing these days, when even well-behaved businessmen wear earrings and ponytails and college students destined for quiet suburban lives have body piercings and tattoos.” This is significant because tattoos have always been affiliated with rebellion and non-conformity. However, this has begun to change because people of all walks of life are getting tattoos as well. An example of this is how “tattoos have been used for centuries to reflect changes in life status, whether passage into adulthood or induction into a group like the military or a gang but in recent years, tattoos have also become a fashion accessory, a trend fueled by basketball players, bands and celebrities.” In connection to this, I have always wanted to get a tattoo as well but not for the stereotypical reasons of being rebellious or because I’m in a gang. I wanted to get a tattoo because I felt like it would add some color to my plain skin as well as character to my look like fashion.
For my compact challenge, I decided to go to a thrift store despite the fact that I did not like the smell of thrift stores because they smell like old clothes. On my way going through aisles, I wasn’t expecting to find anything I would want to buy because I have this stigma of not wanting to buy used items. However, I was able to find a very nice almost brand new portrait of a beach. As a result, I decided to buy it because it was so cheap and I liked it a lot.
Paul Mullowney Ed. “Wood Skin Ink: The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing” reader.
It evolved from the family crests to an intricate piece of art on a large surface of the body.
I wonder how one can endure such pain and what does it mean to these people to gain such a large tattoo. Aside from the association with Japanese gangs, yakuza, what else could this tattoo stand for? I personally will not be able to go through this procedure. But the history behind this tattooing technique is very long and unique compared to other tattooing styles. "There are two reasons why the Japanese full body tattoo was developed: the existence of sumie or, monochromatic ink paintings, and the establishment of clothing fashion" (Yamada), thus, connecting past traditions to reinforce present traditions.
As for the Compact Challenge, saving money and still going strong on Lent. I think both the compact challenge and Lent are helping me save money much better than my previous attempts. I haven't had the urge to buy clothes or makeup and for grocery I'm only spending $30 a week. Thank goodness for Asian supermarkets in Sacramento. The prices for vegetables, fruits, and meat at Safeway is super high compared to SF Market in Sac. I haven't bought any Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Boba!
<3 Annie Tan
Kitamura, Takahiro. "Passing Traditions Over Time and Oceans." 21-28.
Yamada, Mieko. "Japanese Tattooing from the Past to the Present." About.com. 28 February 2010. http://japanese.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&zTi=1&sdn=japanese&cdn=education&tm=50&f=00&tt=14&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//tattoos.com/mieko.htm
Before I learned of tattoo as a form of art derived and practiced in the Japanese culture, I've always thought of tattooing as a trend in which the people who has one on their body are trying to "look cool." However, in his article Paul Mullowney discuss and addresses the "historical and contemporary connections between the art of the Japanese woodblock print and tattooing" (364). Whenever the topic of tattooing comes up, my mind would be triggered to think of it as a way for people to gain acceptance by their social group. Little did I knew that there's a deeper cultural meaning to this form of art towards tattooing by the Japanese artists. There were also another romantic meaning and fantasy view in regards to tattoos, as portrayed in the media such as in movies and drama series. Then again, there were the negative view of tattoos where people have adopted the notion of it to be "worn only by gangsters" (361). For some people, the idea of owning a tattoo pertains to looking hip and cool but for a certain group of people tattoos has more depth to it. For those who are more knowlegeable of the topic, "tattoing stayed true to its roots as an art of the common people, but at the same time suffering the unfortunate distinction of being appropriated into the world of the Japanese Mafia" (364). However you view it, the notion of tattoos can range from something with little or no meaning and a mark of stupidity to something of greater significance as a mark of triumph and culture. Of course tattoos also exists else where from all over the world, in which, "the record of human history shows that tattoos have served in many various and diverse cultures as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talisman, protection and as the marks of outcasts and convicts." There is also a double standard that appeals to gender roles for tattoos. In some culture, it would be acceptable for a male to have tattoos all over his body and people would not bashed on him but when it comes to a female with tattoos on her body, she is prone to being sexually harassed and criticize as a whore.
Updating on my compact challenge, I recently bought a new dress because it was a good deal for a less-than-ten-dollars dress. Haha, I know, I couldn't resist such a good deal even though it may document to distract me from the compact challenge. This winter quarter has passed by so quickly that my experience under the compact challenge has little impact on how I choose to shop and not shop. I know for a fact that I do not have a bad habit to shop for obsolete items but only to shop when it is necessary and affordable. Though we have discussed in class that as a consumer sometimes shopping for what's affordable may affect the people who produce those affordable items and that we should only shop for products manufacture here in the US to support and promote our economic stability. But you and I both know that with the growing foreign productions and importing products, it's quite rare to find an item at any shop that does not say "made in China." Honestly, I prefer not to buy items "made in China" because I cannot trust the quality of those items. But when life is made busy for me, I do not have much of a choice but to deal with what's in front of me.
By THUY DUONG :)
1) Paul Mulluowney Ed. Wood Skin Ink: The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing. Caroline Valverde Ed. ASA 189B Winter 2010, reader. Print.
With Japan's with the sub-cultures that are made among the youth (Ganguro, Kawaii, etc.) maybe there is a reason why they chose. While I do think that it's a sense of expression of who they are and "liberated" from all restraints that they don't like to conform to. I think that these failures of the younger generation to not acknowledging traditional may contribute to the older generation not being able to educate the customs and traditions that once was apart of their culture prior to World War II. This establishment gave certain freedoms for their citizens, but at the same time forgot what they are prior to their modernization from Western influence.
As for my compact challenge in not buying (or getting free) a new shirt, so far last night this was as tough of a challenge than I could ever imagine. I was in Downtown San Jose for a Hip-Hop dance competition known as Battlefest and there were a couple of vendors that sold some pretty good designs. My brother persuaded me not to buy a shirt: "I don't think I really need a t-shirt right now, got too many." I'm all for the support indepedent labels. Afterwards, I was glad enough to just spend my money on Vietnamese food in the Eastern portion of the city for dinner since we were very hungry.
Kondo, Dorine. "The Aesthetics and Politics of Japanese Identity in Fashion Industry." Dress and Identity. ed. Joanne B. Eicher, Kim K.P. Johnson, and Mary Ellen Roach-Higgins. New York: Fairchild Publications, 1995. pp. 465-473
Identity Crisis or Just Having Fun?
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I've never notice how Western clothing have had such a big influence around the world. In the article "The Aesthetics and Politics of Japanese Identity in Fashion Industry," the author, Dorinne Kondo presented a history of clothing within Japan and how the western clothing slowly emerge to take over the kimono. Since Japan today moving at the fast pace, the kimono just couldn't keep up with the lifestyle. The western style clothing becomes more popular due to its comfortableness and more of the business attire uniforms. (Kondo)
The business industry always something that more of the "western" thing. Everyone who works in big offices almost always wear suits. As many people says, "you are what you wear," the suits commonly speak for "professional." Therefore, people in the business/office always wear suits to work. This is not only in Japan but it is a world wide trend. Every man should at least own a suit.
Aside from business/office works, the suit are also for meeting, high class dinner party, wedding...Most of the Asian countries has slowly been influences by this western suit. They slowly ditching their traditional clothes to wear these suit. Like in Vietnam, almost all wedding, the suits are always presented either on the groom or guests. The western influences were so strong, it merge into the Vietnamese tradition wedding. Rather than wearing the Ao Dai Khan Dong (traditional dress for man in wedding) the groom now wear the western suit for their wedding. (Origin Vietnam).
The western clothing has brought such a big influences on Asian country. They slowly killing the traditional clothing. Because they have been accepted so widely, people feel ashamed to wear traditional clothing. People wanted to fit into the big crowd. They wanted to be like the Westerners. Like the suit, it become the standard uniform for business/office works and we just cannot break away from it.
This is the 8th week of the compact challenge and I still survive. As finals are drawing close, I do not even have time to get out of the house. Hence, it helps me a lot in resisting the urge of shopping. But I notice that I can survive without buying new clothes. I am start asking myself the question "Do I even need new clothes all the time?" every times I am thinking of going shopping. I Compact Challenge becomes my friend and helps me solving my shopaholic problem. I am so happy with all the money I can save from Lunar New Year :D
Kondo, Dorine. "The Aesthetics and Politics of Japanese Identity in Fashion Industry." Dress and Identity. ed. Joanne B. Eicher, Kim K.P. Johnson, and Mary Ellen Roach-Higgins. New York: Fairchild Publications, 1995. pp. 465-473
"Vietnamese & Western Wedding." Origin Vietnam. 28 Feb 2010. Origin Vietnam, Web. 28 Feb 2010.