Masaki Ishikawa (he/him)
Masaki Ishikawa is a visual artist who currently works predominantly on paintings based on postcards. The postcards he uses as subject matter are often second-hand, and bought from the overlooked corners of eBay and other sites. Ishikawa feels that the mass-produced front side, printed with typical travel experiences of each place, and the sender’s personal experiences and messages to the addressee written on the backside, hold the moment when a reproduction turns into an original in the form of a souvenir.
Thanks to Kleo for helping me this year – view her graduate showcase here
PLC2044, Colin’s case
PLC2044 is the item number of a postcard that was sold in Dartmoor during the 1970s. The PLC2044 that I purchased on eBay was originally bought and sent by a person named Colin. On the back of the postcard, there is an address, a postage stamp, and a message to the addressee, with sender’s name, Colin, at the end of the message and (Remember Me???) next to it.
The person who sent the postcard seems to lament returning from, what seems to be, a family holiday. Whilst I wanted to depict the apparent happiness experienced by ‘Colin’ with his family, I was also anxious to convey the feeling of the author being preoccupied with their imminent return – their mind always facing to another place, never really where they are. This is why the motif of the backwards-facing figure in the dress appears throughout this series.
As I am currently away from my home country, I was particularly intrigued by the last sentence of Colin’s message (Remember Me???). There are three question marks written on it, which can feel like a joke for the addressee, possibly a close friend. Or perhaps it was a message to an acquaintance he hadn’t seen in so many years who didn’t remember Colin, who didn’t want it to be serious. That’s why he put three question marks on it.
His writing wouldn’t be particularly unique. But Colin’s description of Dartmoor, with its beautiful weather and abundant nature, is exactly what I want to tell my friends back home, whom I haven’t seen in over two years – It’s beautiful here on a good day and nature is nice. I may or may not return to my home country in the future. However, Colin’s words, “It’s nice while it lasts,” are beautiful as he enjoys the temporary stay while understanding the near future he will return to his home.
Whilst traveling and studying abroad are very different in their nature and duration, Colin and I have something in common about the precariousness of our stay, and the faceless figures on the PLC2044 that Colin chose visually represent our psychological focus on the home while in temporary residence.
During the height of the pandemic, I – like everyone else – was confined to my immediate environment. The making of this piece and others like it, took place during this time and served as a visual diary. I made drawings on a postcard, which is transportable. Each picture has its own small story. For example, I got an inspiration for “Picnic, A Bread With A Knife” from a man leaning forward himself to cut bread in front of him. He was having a picnic with some people. I started thinking about that situation – if I were him, Can I lean forward to cut the bread that is placed in front of me? I was paranoid about social distancing, and that questioned me if I can do that simple action. The knife is about to touch the bread in the drawing, but the yellow barricade prevents the knife from going further. a figure on the left side of the drawing faces somewhere else as if that is still deciding to cut the bread.
Postcards Job Lot
In this series of paintings, the motifs are images and texts from postcards sold on eBay as vintage goods. Functioning as a postal item, the postcard transforms an experience or event that has happened to the sender into a convenient-sized item, with a written text, and delivers personal information to the addressee. However, the vintage postcard has lost its original purpose, has no address to return to, and no destination to go to. The image of the vintage postcard is itinerant. Here, the artist enlarges and twists these itinerant images and covers them with paint on cotton in an attempt to perceive the postcard in motion in its irreversible travels with no destination.