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Hokusai’s art: Japanese woodblock prints are part of Now & Zen’s history

Hokusai Wave Zen Alarm Clock by Now & Zen

Hokusai Wave Zen Alarm Clock by Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

Now & Zen’s first Zen Alarm Clock dial face was inspired by the great Japanese printmaker, Hokusai.  Steve McIntosh’s love of ukiyo-e lead him to the print by Hokusai called, ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’.

Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period.  In his time, he was Japan’s leading expert on Chinese painting.  Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai is best-known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji which includes the iconic and internationally recognized print,The Great Wave off Kanagawa, created during the 1820s.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai

Ukiyo-e, as practiced by artists like Hokusai, focused on images of the courtesans and Kabuki actors who were popular in Japan’s cities at the time.

Hokusai eventually changed the subjects of his works, moving away from the images of courtesans and actors that were the traditional subjects of ukiyo-e.  Instead, his work became focused on landscapes and images of the daily life of Japanese people from a variety of social levels.

Hokusai had a long career, but he produced most of his important work after age 60. His most popular work is the ukiyo-e series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which was created between 1826 and 1833.  It actually consists of 46 prints (10 of them added after publication).  In addition, he is responsible for the 1834 One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji ) a work which “is generally considered the masterpiece among his landscape picture books.”

Red Fuji Ukiyo-e Print by Hokusai's series: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji

Red Fuji Ukiyo-e Print by Hokusai's series: Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji has traditionally been linked with eternal life.

His influences also stretched to his contemporaries in nineteenth century Europe whose new style Art Nouveau, or Jugendstil in Germany, was influenced by him and by Japanese art in general. This was also part of the larger Impressionist movement, with similar themes to Hokusai appearing inClaude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Steve McIntosh, Founder of Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

Steve McIntosh, Founder of Now & Zen, Boulder, CO

All Now & Zen products have been conceived and designed by Steve McIntosh.  Steve’s love of beauty and passion for spiritual practice led him to found Now & Zen with the goal of creating products that would make a real difference in people’s lives.  Steve created Now & Zen’s brand aesthetic by combining the harmonic proportions of sacred geometry with motifs from traditional Japanese culture.  This has resulted in product designs that have a timeless, universal appeal.

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Posted in Beauty, Hokusai Wave, Japanese Inspired Zen Clocks, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks