Birdcap “After Kuniyoshi” in Chicago

By - Monday, October 5th, 2015

With a fine art degree from the Memphis College of Art, Birdcap (Michael Roy) struggled to find his way to get started in the art world. With a temporary break and some inner reflection, he decided to move to Seoul, South Korea to be a teacher. Living in Seoul for three years  he developed a passion for the food, culture and the visuals of such an energetic city. 

In this piece,”After Kuniyoshi,”created with the Chicago Truborn Gallery,  Birdcap has painted two Korean Masks 

“I used to live in a village just south of Andong in South Korea.  Andong is a cultural center of South Korea and is  home to the Hahoe masks.  The masks are used for traditional plays and celebrated in many festivals there.  They struck me pretty hard.  They were  fantastic methods to transform a character and a play.  Each mask represented a specific personality or concept, and through repetition of these characters, the masks transformative powers increased.  The drunk, the corrupt priest, the privileged rich girl, etc. were all created with the adoption of a mask on the actor.  My work has taken visual cues from the Hahoe masks but more than that I have started making a vocabulary that is constructed in a similar way.  I like reoccurring characters that can embody specific emotions, concepts, or even historical moments in my paintings”. says Michael. 

“Utagawa Kuniyoshi was a 19th century Japanese painter.  He relates to the work in that the piece was initially inspired by a triptych by him. His work in general has been influential to me. His works are strongly narrative and usually involve absurd monsters, demons, and ghosts.” 

Birdcap will be back in Chicago soon. I look forward to our Korean lunch together that got postponed due to our busy schedules and to seeing more of his work locally. 

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