Get ready to meet some art that’s simultaneously brand new and ages-old.

Let’s face it—the global COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the worst things that many of us have lived through, and that’s without even getting into the knock-on impact it’s had upon people’s livelihoods. Local artists and craftspeople have had an especially turbulent business year, as the lack of travel and general recommendations to stay socially distanced mean that fewer and fewer people are wandering through their stores and admiring their wares.

Five artists from Kyoto, Japan, have banded together to make the best of a bad situation. Under the banner of Takumi New Standard, they’re using their respective talents to poke a little fun at the bizarre new normal we all face while showcasing some beautiful traditional art techniques. And they need your help to do so!

Their crowdfunding page offers special projects from each of the artisans, starting with Keiko Udaka, a Noh mask carver who runs Noh play workshops with her younger brothers. She has expertly fashioned a one-of-a-kind Noh mask that cuts off perfectly at the cheeks, just as a face mask used to curb the spread of airborne viruses would be.

▼ And yes, she carved the full mask before chopping it up.

Only one half-mask is available, along with a full Noh mask and some Amabie charms, but the shavings from carving it and Udaka’s other offerings for the campaign are available on a much larger scale as protective charms.

Another beautiful piece is from a crafter of bamboo blinds, Shinji Kubota. He became aware of how beautiful Japanese artistry was when he guided foreign tourists around as part of a school club, and his masterpiece here is an ornate bamboo screen that serves as a facial shield .

▼ Safe, secure, stylish.

Katsuhiko Ikegami is the next artisan on the docket. He crafts hats in his workshop, and his take on the Covid-19 pandemic was to craft a unique denim mask that resembles the plague doctor masks of old. Fashioned from Japanese denim fabric, it’s a stunning piece that’s guaranteed to start some interesting conversations.

Not all of the artists have made single works for the campaign. Ceramic artist Shinichi Takashima has 20 sets of mask hooks available. Each set comes with two stunning ceramic mask hooks, which are used to help secure face masks without straining the ears.

The last professional in the roundup is kimono stylist and general wizard of Japanese fabric Tokusaburo Miyagawa. Miyagawa is responsible for sourcing the denim used in the various projects, as well as collaborating with Kubota to make the denim masks that are available as a backer reward.

You can support these plucky artists at a variety of levels and receive rewards like Zoom calls with the professionals themselves, assorted backer packs containing charms and masks, or of course one of the limited-edition (and fittingly priced) masterpieces. It’s a great way to consider the strange new frontier of the pandemic with a light-hearted touch, and you can support some incredible local artists at the same time!

Related: Kyoto Takumi New Standard Crowdfunding Page
Source: @Press via Japaaan
Images: @Press

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