Thursday, June 2, 2011

From the archives: Takeo Takei

illustrated by Takei Takeo
Building Blocks
"Kodomo no kuni" 1927.6
illustrated by Takei Takeo
words by Saijyo Yaso
The Song of Chocolate
"Kodomo no kuni" 1929.

I'm pretty certain that childhood was celebrated well before the twentieth century. But modernism introduced magazines to the world and its people, big and small. My own grandfather was a long-time editor of the Polish children's magazine Swiersczczk. In Japan Kodomo no kuni (1922-1949) was a dedicated children's journal that published the works of a slew of wonderful Japanese artists and illustrators who documented Japan's rapidly changing urban landscape, train stations to tractors, from the perspective of its littlest citizens. I love their optimism, their wonder at modernization. One of its illustrator's, art school trained Takeo Takei (1894-1983) stands out. Why? Well, there's something about the way he combines collage, abstract shapes and vibrant colours with compositions drawn from the playful place of the imagination. Entire worlds conjured in building blocks and chocolate. A man after my own heart.

You can see more of his work, and that of his contemporaries here.

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