California Arts Council

State of California

Artist Call Detail

For Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees
For International artists

Project Description

We are Pinna Records, a new music label based in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are experimenting with new formats for the digital release of recorded music, and want to commission a print artist to create a small accordion book or print folio to accompany the release of a new composition by Los Angeles-based composer Kenji Oh. This work is a series of five movements, each being a reflection on the personality traits of main characters from the eighteenth century Japanese bunraku/kabuki play, Yoshitsune senbon zakura (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees). Oh’s music is performed on a treated guitar by Giacomo Fiore.

Artwork Goals

Oh’s music is inspired by traditional Japanese theater, but is itself modern and atmospheric. Each movement evokes the character traits of a main character from the first act of the play, and we would ask the artist to read the act in order to explore the relationship between the music and the story, before conceiving of their accompanying artwork/s (we can supply this text, in English, on demand). The play has consistently been performed both in the kabuki style, with live actors, and as a bunraku play (with elaborate dolls), and the artist would be welcome to look to either or both of these traditions as visual or thematic inspiration. The print/s created for this release should reflect Japanese print culture, but do not have to be completely traditional in their treatment of space or of subject matter: they could be inspired by traditional ukiyo-e artworks, by the works of mid-twentieth century sosaku-hanga artists like Kiyoshi Saito, Yoshitoshi Mori, and Kaoru Kawano, or by illustrators like Kishida Ryusei, Nio Mizushima or Shigeru Hatsuyama. We would like works made with traditional relief printmaking technologies, preferably wood cut/ linocut or letterpress, although we would also consider lithographs. We do not want to dictate a really specific style, as the variety of possible inspirations listed above should show. However, we would like images that are figurative rather than purely abstract, though again those images do not have to be rigorously traditional or naturalistic. 

We would accept designs either for an accordion book or for a print folio, depending on the artist’s vision. If your design is for an accordion book, the final product you envision should not be larger than the average mass market paperback book, and should not be longer that six pages per side. If you would like to present a print folio, we would limit the number of prints to five (plus the cover) and would ask that the paper size not exceed 8 by 5.5 inches.


We can pay the artist $1,500 for this work. We will cover all production costs, subject to prior approval, and the cost of mailing and insuring the artwork.

Deadline: 06-01-2016
Pinna Records
San Francisco, CA

Contact: Caty Telfair
Phone: 415.265.9258

Return to Artist Call page