You've seen "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" in museums and dorm rooms the world over, since it's probably the most famous artistic depiction of moving water of all time. It's the penultimate work of Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai, "ukiyo-e" being a genre of Japanese art that was most prominent from the 17th through the 19th century. The movement is especially notable for its woodblock prints, which involves making something like a wooden stamp and creating prints from it. Because of that process, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, including "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," share iconic traits, like well-defined outlines and mostly solid, flat colors.
It's a style that's stood the test of time, and artist Hitoshi Ariga decided to merge the ancient Japanese art style with what is likely the country's most famous cultural export of the last 20 years: Pokémon. Woodblock prints are the result of a multi-step process, so while Ariga did the original illustrations, that was just the first step. The 15.5" by 20" artworks were then transferred onto a tracing paper, so they could then be carved onto a woodblock and turned into prints from there. Two limited edition prints are available from Pokémon Center, so check out "Silence Bridge" above and "Port of Vermillion" below:
Although the $450 price point might sound high initially, these truly are pieces of fine, hand-crafted art, and if you zoom in on the images on the store page, the level of detail truly is gorgeous. One of these would definitely make a great gift for the Pokémon fan in your life, especially if you're not looking to spend a quarter of a million dollars on a Pokémon watch.
What other gorgeous Pokémon art have you come across in your internet travels? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: Pokémon Center