I can say fairly certainly that this is the greatest painting of instant deep-fried vegetables ever made.

You may or may not have heard of Christian Lassen in your own country, but the American artist and marine conservationist has a huge following in Japan. Why exactly he is so famous is a bit of a mystery, but something about his unique depictions of sea life must have really resonated with the people in Japan.

Also bear in mind that Lassen hit the scene exactly forty years ago when one of his paintings of a tiger swimming under a full moon would have fit right at home airbrushed on the side of a van. However, even though he was in vogue back in the ’70s, it’s quite fascinating how much mileage he has gotten out of his art, having even done an album cover for Japanese idol group Momoiro Clover Z in 2013.

Images: Amazon

And now in his 40th year as an established artist in Japan, Lassen is teaming up with Nissin’s brand of instant udon, Donbei, which is also celebrating a 40th anniversary, for a truly one-of-a-kind painting.

For those unfamiliar with Japanese food, that big thing seen behind the orcas in the painting, that looks like a fireball, is a kakiage, which is a mixture of thin-cut vegetables fried tempura style into a little disc. Such a disc can be found in every pack of Donbei Oni Kakiage Udon.

Image: Nissin Donbei

The title of the above painting is called Kakiage wo Kakiageru: a pun where “kakiageru” means “to make a painting” and this whole campaign becomes just a little less random.

In the video below Lassen shares the process of painting kakiage as well as his view of the world being made up of two kinds of people: “One is going to be where they love kakiage, and the other one is not.” You’ve got to hand it to him, his logic is air-tight.

This artistic process is also explained by Lassen on a special website set up by Nissin in honor of the anniversary collaboration. Our Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato seems to think its some sort of cryptic poem, but I’m guessing its just the way the guy talks.

“Oni Kakiage.
Since the first time I saw it,
I couldn’t help but paint it.
However, it is very difficult to paint something I’m not accustomed to.
But it is important that I paint this not just well, but deliciously.
That is art.”

The website is full of other goodies as well. There are some painting tips from Lassen hismelf and a chance to win his autographed Japanese calligraphy of the word iruka (dolphin).

Image: Nissin Donbei

Best of all, Lassen’s Kakiage wo Kakiageru is free to download from the website as a wallpaper for your PC or portable device to look at all day and every day. So, what are you waiting for? Head on over and add a touch of deep-fried cosmic class to your life today!

Related Donbei and Christian Lassen 40th Anniversary Official Website
Source: Twitter/@donbei_jp
Original article by Mr. Sato
[ Read in Japanese ]