Kanji exhibit at Davis CollegeWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
A series of mixed media images based on kanji, a stylistic form of Japanese symbol writing, will be on display at Davis College starting Feb. 21. Michigan artist John Anthony Davis, a graphic design and interactive media alumnus of the college, said the pieces were inspired by a series of Japanese video games called “Fatal Frame.”
In the game, a girl returns to a town to search for her brother and finds it full of ghosts. To pass through various doors, she must solve a series of puzzles. The doors has kanji writing on them, which would dissolve when the puzzle was solved, allowing the girl to pass through the door, Davis said.
“When I started making these designs, I remembered that,” Davis said. “The kanji stands for a word and the word goes into the storyline of the picture and the picture itself. There will be a story for each that will be displayed by the picture, so there’s a meaning behind them all.”
The images combine digital designs with hand drawings and photographs to create a “hodgepodge of everything all mashed together,” Davis said.
Timothy Brunner, department of design chair at Davis College, said Davis contacted the school about displaying his work and Brunner was happy to give him the opportunity.
“He was an outstanding student, very creative, and I think that shows in the work that he’s going to be showing here,” Brunner said. “It seems to me to be a high level both in terms of creative and intellectual, and I remember that about him when he was a student here.”
The images will be displayed Feb. 21 through March 4 in the college atrium, 4747 Monroe St., open during school hours, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays. A reception is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 25.
Although Davis made close to 100 designs, he will only display 30.
“It’s hard to pick them because you don’t know what will really strike people, so I just picked what I thought was cooler, like the design or the story behind them,” Davis said. “Some of them are really pretty; some are not so pretty. There’s just a wide range of story ideas and designs.”
Davis said he is inspired by the mysterious and the supernatural.
“Everything I do has a supernatural tinge to it,” Davis said. “I’m inspired by any kind of life situation that’s off-par of what is normal, like mysterious, unsolved or something that happens that you just weren’t expecting. I’ve always found that to be fascinating.”
Davis, who is also a musician and author, said he loves being creative.
“I like to create anything, whether it be a story, art or song,” Davis said. “I can’t imagine not being able to be creative. That’d be hell for me.”