Known as “hinomaru yosegaki” in the Japanese Language, the Good Luck Flag was a traditional gift given to soldiers during times of war. Friends and family would write short messages wishing a soldier safety, victory, and good luck. The writing would radiate outward from the red circle, or “sun” in the center:
The soldiers would fold the flags up and keep them tucked into their jackets while they were away. They are now sought after collector's items, which means there are also counterfeit versions out there as well. Unlike the US, it is not against the law in Japan to write on, deface, or burn the national flag.
The design of the Japanese flag itself adheres to strict ratios and measurements, with the sun being 60% of the height of the flag. Furthermore, it is moved 1/100th to the left (toward the flagpole) to help balance the visual aesthetics while flying. The layout of the shapes in this image reflects those strict guidelines as well as the idea of “writing” around the sun. AND it’s a good luck charm.
So I started each of the new pieces on a canvas made using the design guidelines for the Japanese Flag, then applied the rules of the Hinomaru Yosegaki for the images that would radiate outward from the center, without touching it.
These pieces are made from images I shot over two weeks in Japan earlier this year. It’s a magical place that I fell in love with completely.