Torii of the Itsukushima Shrine
The red circle from the Nisshōki, Japan’s national flag, signifies sincerity, brightness and warmth while simultaneously indicating bravery, strength and valor. While the white on the flag represents purity and honesty, I chose to utilize blue and yellow for two reasons: first, the blue in the bottom half of the design abstractly eluded to the water that the Torii is surrounded by at every high tide while the yellow in the upper half of the design symbolizes the morning sky in which the rising sun, or Hinomaru, of the Nisshōki perpetually resides.
The addition of the cherry blossoms represents the fragility and the beauty of life. To the Japanese it’s a reminder that life is overwhelmingly beautiful but also tragically short. Furthermore, a fallen cherry blossom symbolizes a fallen samurai who sacrificed his life for the emperor. In 1912, Japan gave 3,020 cherry-blossom trees to the United States as a gift to honor the growing bond between the two countries. The pink hue of the cherry blossoms symbolizes good health and life as well as purity and love.
I chose not to incorporate any text to my poster. I let my images and color choices speak for themselves.
The branch was extended into the border and off the composition completely while a few fallen petals were dropped into the border but not off the design. This last composition choice symbolizes the start of life from the branch entering the image from the right side of the piece and represents the end of life by the fallen petals; however, the petals have not completely left the design just as our loved ones never leave our thoughts and memories. Between the two events lies the beauty of life, with some petals grouped together and some alone and fending for themselves, but all part of a bigger picture, a more important design.
18” x 24” Acrylic on Illustration