Fundraising Auction of Usagi Yojimbo Artwork

Stan & Sharon Sakai at the 2011 Japanese American National Museum Gala Dinner
Stan & Sharon Sakai at the 2011 Japanese American National Museum Gala Dinner

Just a heads up about this most worthy cause. The art in this auction is also being published as a book which we will sell in the Museum Store later this year.

Proceeds from the auction and book sales will help to offset the Sakai family’s ongoing medical expenses. There is some GREAT art to be had created by a stellar list of artists. The auction starts on March 6!

Click here for details >>

Stan and Sharon have been wonderful supporters and partners of JANM. We had an exhibition of his work in 2011 (Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo), he presented a session at our 2013 National Conference in Seattle, and we sell many Usagi Yojimbo products in our Museum Store, including JANM exclusive items.

Here is a photo of Stan and Sharon in 2011 at our Gala Dinner that year—happier times!

 

Comic-Con Mania!

Giant Robot's iPhone 4 and 5 cases! (Photo from: Giant Robot)
Stop by and grab one of these Giant Robot iPhone 4 and 5 cases! (Photo from: Giant Robot)

For all of our fans who headed down to Comic-Con today—once you’ve stopped by Stan Sakai’s booth (#4906) and gotten a sketch, we have a few more recommendations to check out:

Our longtime friends at Giant Robot are selling Tru Protection iPhone 4 and 5 phone cases featuring their robotic mascot! These fun cases are locally made and recyclable—and better yet, a portion of the proceeds are donated to JANM! Stop by booth #1729 and make your phone the envy of them all.

And for the first time ever, Hello Kitty is debuting at Comic-Con! Sanrio will offer a pop-up shop, nail art, and an interactive experience based on Alice in Wonderland, located at Comic-Con’s Interactive Zone.

Speaking of Hello Kitty and comic books, JANM has two upcoming pop culture exhibits that are sure to pique your interest:

Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 officially opens on October 12—but we know you’ll join us for the opening party on Thursday, October 10 too! Marvels & Monsters illustrates how racist comic book archetypes affected the way Americans viewed Asians. For more information, pick up a postcard at Stan’s booth.

Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty will open in October 2014, just in time for her 40th anniversary. As you’ve probably guessed, Hello! will look back on four decades of Hello Kitty’s influence on art and culture. Stay posted for more info!

Stan Sakai Sketches at Comic Con

Stan_Sakai,_2006
Stan Sakai at Comic Con, 2006.
(Photo: Pinguino)

If you were lucky enough to score San Diego Comic-Con tickets this year, make sure to visit Stan Sakai’s table (#4906 in the Exhibitions Hall). This year, Sakai will be sketching for JANM at his booth!

Sakai is the Eisner Award-winning creator of several popular comic book series, including the long-running Usagi Yojimbo and his latest, 47 Ronin. He has a long history with the Museum, including a 2011 exhibition of his work in Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo and a recent panel session/signing at this year’s National Conference in Seattle.

Stop by, make a donation, and get a fantastic piece of art for a good cause!

 

P.S. Check out our selection of Stan Sakai items at the Museum Store, including a special Usagi Yojimbo Tea Cup and t-shirts produced by JANM!

Stan Sakai, JA Santa, & GRB3 artists workshop this Saturday!

This Saturday will be another busy day at JANM! We’ll have 3 great reasons to visit us with your friends & family.

  • 11am – 2pm: Take a Picture with Japanese American Santa
    Japanese American Santa is coming to town! Take home a special holiday photo.
Usagi Yojimbo books available at the Museum Store!
  • 12pm – 2pm: Stan Sakai Book Signing
    Stan Sakai returns to JANM! Signed Usagi Yojimbo books make great holiday gifts. The Museum Store will have copies of his two latest books for sale—Usagi Yojimbo #26: Traitors of the Earth & 47 Ronin (signing books only)
  • 2pm – 4pm: Giant Robot Artists’ Entourage Workshop with Albert Reyes & Saelee Oh
    Come make art with Albert Reyes and Saelee Oh from Giant Robot Biennale 3 in this hands-on workshop. Immerse yourself in a variety of techniques and styles.

Here’s a description of what Saelee Oh has planned:

Open Love Letter to the Universe: We will be creating lots of artwork together! You can make portraits of your spirit animals, make artwork as an amulet for healing and protection for yourself and to give out to others and to illustrate our wishes for our world to be a better place.

Saelee Oh installation in "Giant Robot Biennale 3"

 

All three events are free with Museum admission (if you’re a member, that means it’s all free!). While you’re here, be sure to check out the Giant Robot Biennale 3 exhibition (closes January 20, 2013).

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, find meaningful & fun cultural gifts at our award-winning Museum Store. We have many more items—including one-of-a-kind ceramics, jewelry, and art pieces—than what is available online at janmstore.com.

Wow! Thanks Stan!

To let you know how busy things are here at the Museum, I totally forgot that yesterday was the last day for the Stan Sakai Labbit auction. Imagine my surprise to get an email from eBay notifying us that Stan’s Labbit sold for over $1500! Stan has graciously donated the proceeds of this sale to the Museum, and for that we are grateful. We are also proud to have helped Stan participate in his first custom toy show!

The Last Labbit Auction!


And it starts in just a few minutes. I have to stay online long enough to have it go live so I can post the links. Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo Labbit made an appearance on the back cover of Stan’s 199th comic book issue, so I imagine the bidding will be fierce for this piece. The Year of the Labbit show is over but Stan’s Labbit is still on view in the Museum Store.

There are still some fine Labbits available on janmstore.com, but they are going fast. We sold 6 more after the show was over!

Oh and Save the Date: Stan Sakai will be at the Museum for a booksigning on October 30. Check our web site for details: janm.org

Here you go! >>

Summer for JANM Volunteers

During the summer when we have fewer school visitors, the Education Unit runs summer sessions for the volunteers. Here are some quick, recent highlights…

7/22/11 (Last Friday) – Clement led a special tour of his artwork featured in ROUND TRIP: Eight East Los Angeles College Alumni Artists at the newly opened Vincent Price Art Museum at East LA College. Standing in front of his low-rider rickshaw with “Yo No Soy Chino” written on it, we thought about Clement’s experiences growing up Japanese American in East LA.

7/29/11 (Today) – Frank Kawana was interviewed by his grandson, Cole, about being a second generation maker of kamaboko. Frank, possibly the only person on the mainland who can do it by hand, showed us HOW TO MAKE KAMABOKO. (Haven’t you always wondered how this is done?) Cole conducted an interview that was absolutely fascinating, even to a vegetarian like me.

It was eaten up so quickly that Clement’s picture of the last slice is the only photographic evidence we have. Those who were lucky enough to taste it said Frank’s fresh kamaboko was even better than what you buy in the store. So when you have Yamasa kamaboko, think of the Kawanas. More info about the interview—as well as tips on how to do an interview of your own—will be available shortly on our Discover Nikkei Web site.

7/29/11 (Today) – While Lynn was leading the volunteers on a tour of JANM’s current exhibition Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, Stan Sakai, the artist himself, stopped by. He gave us even more insight into the making of Usagi Yojimbo.

As Richard M. (who gets most of the photo credits on this post) said, “We really hit the jackpot today.”

Ever thought about volunteering for the Museum and joining in on the fun???

Year of Labbit soundbyte on KFWB

You have to listen to the piece on the Warhol soup cans at MOCA, but my golden tones are second. Good thing I wore my radio clothes that day (the reporter caught me in a pair of sweaty, paint-stained overalls.)

Here’s a link to the interview:

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/07/22/kfwb-on-your-corner-downtown-la-museums/

"My Fair Labbit" by Emil Dora

 

See more Labbits from the Year of the Labbit Custom Show >>

 

Better than the Average Bear…or Should I say Rabbit?

I have been told that while perusing through a gallery space, the average person spends about 5 seconds in front of a work of art before moving on to another piece. I, myself, am guilty of this, as I have found myself racing through exhibits, which would take hours upon hours to properly absorb and appreciate. Although I have had the pleasure of being immersed in art from a variety of galleries and cultures, from the many we have here in Southern California to those on the East Coast and have seen a generous share works from renowned masters to local Michiganian artists, there unfortunately does not exist an encyclopedia of “Art Seen by Alexa” chronicling the art that I have seen in my lifetime. I’m one of the last people on this earth to have a photographic memory, so that’s understandable right? Pass by someone’s masterpiece and appreciate it for the time being, but soon it floats off into the deep dark abyss that are our forgotten memories. It happens. But I was recently taught the copious amounts of hard work that goes into us viewers being treated with eye-candy, museum style. And trust me, it deserves way more than the five-second glance us Plain Jane’s and Average Joe’s give it.

For the past few weeks, I have been given a taste into what it takes to bring an exhibition into fruition as we prepared for the opening of the museum’s new exhibit, Year of the Rabbit: Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo. I am not a nerd when it comes to the world of comic books, but educating myself in the world of Usagi Yojimbo was as easy as picking up a comic book, literally. Definitely something I wish I could have said for chemistry and calculus in high school. Portions of my past weeks have consisted of spending one-on-one time with Stan Sakai’s artwork as my fellow intern, Yuiko and I, transformed Stan’s works from being brilliant works on paper to being works on paper that are now matted, framed, and hanging in the galleries. Hours were spent in the Collections department as we measured, cut mats, drilled holes, and were reminded that our math skills were a little rusty from when we had last used them in high school.

Despite the refresher we needed on adding and subtracting, we successfully hauled plexi and frames around Collections and used power tools, which ultimately amounted into the works of Stan Sakai ready for your viewing pleasure. This was an invaluable opportunity to see original works up-close and personal as opposed to behind glass and a velvet rope. I am always a fan of not only final works, but the progress and process behind them and it was awesome to see the artist’s original pencil sketches underneath his final products in ink. At the end of our few weeks, everyone’s hard work was revealed and the museum’s new exhibition looks amazing! So if you’re ever in the mood to delve deeper into the world of Usagi Yojimbo or witness the culmination of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the finalization of this exhibit, come check out Year of the Rabbit!!!

– Alexa