Perfect Cherry Blossom presents the first and long-awaited collaboration between British artist Oliver Payne and Japanese pop artist Keiichi Tanaami. For this new series, Payne has reworked original drawings by Tanaami, adding stickers featuring motifs from Japanese “bullet hell” games. This subgenre of “shoot ’em ups” is special in that the games are not only beautiful, chaotic and psychedelic, but they represent a niche in the world of hardcore arcade shooter games that could be considered the pure video games par excellence. Unlike most popular game genres that borrow from cinema and current pop culture in general, bullet hell games are self-enclosed worlds concerned exclusively with their own, often very complicated, systems and rules.
For Payne, the driving force in these games is “pattern”: the patterns of “bullet curtains”, for example. Gamers memorize the patterns of movement through a level and learn to recognize patterns in the behavior of the enemy boss. These patterns can be very pretty and very complicated.
Tanaami was the first art director of the Japanese edition of Playboy magazine. He designed record covers for The Monkees and Jefferson Airplane, in which he fused elements of American and Japanese pop art. Payne and Tanaami, who knew and admired each other’s work for years, finally met and exchanged artwork. Besides the new collages, the book presents an interview with Payne and Tanaami by Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen discussing the origins of their collaboration.
A publication in the STUDIOLO/Edition Patrick Frey series