Archive for February 7th, 2009
Went to Fujimamas Restaurant yesterday for their beer school. No, we didn’t learn how to make it. We learned how to drink it–i.e. 7 beers that I wasn’t familiar with. Bryan Harrell, local beer celeb, did a great job talking about how beer is made, the micro-beer movement, beers in japan and then intorduced some delicious beers–including chocolate and chocolate-tasting beers. I was impressed-with Bryan’s knowledge, with the wide variety of beers presented, and the generous pours and delicious snacks from Fujimamas. Lauren from Fujimamas was a gracious host as always. A nice mix of Japanese and non-Japanese people as well. Maybe it would be a good idea to have a beer opening at the gallery instead of a wine opening.To top it all off, the cost was only 3,000 yen. You can learn more about Bryan and see his column on bento.com by clicking here. There is more about Fujimamas at www.fujimamas.com and you can sign up for their e-mail list and also learn about their wine school too. Me and a couple of my homies have already signed up. It might be good to have a beer opening when we have Joji Shimamoto’s opening. I am thinking I would like to start drinking better beer-why not? I am not sure it would cost that much more–I do like my asahi super dry but it’s probably time for an upgrade. Same as drinking a better bottle of wine, or like for some of the gallery clients–upgrading their collection.
Other good news came in yesterday that Ryota Aoki, our wonderful ceramicist will be featured in a one hour television program in September. They have already started filming it. About 6 weeks ago, NHK did a 10 minute program on him–and we said it was not enough. Many must have felt the same way since now, another program will give him the full hour he deserves. We first saw Ryota Aoki’s work 5 years ago, when he was doing heavy black ceramics–sushi plates and platters. I saw them at a show, didn’t buy them but spent the next two years trying to find him. Wrote to ceramic columnists, ceramic dealers, galleries in the US and eventually found him via the Japan Tableware Association where he won the first prize. He has won the first prize for the last four years in a row. My hunt took me to Australia where he won the First Prize in a major Australian Contest and to France, where he had an exhibition of his “butts”–large ceramic vessels that look like someone’s rear end. He even calls them that. I eventually found that he was living in Gifu in a house with no toilet and contacted him first by email and then by phone and we began to work together.
You can see his NHK program on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHJvQU23QM8
We carry his white porcelain and silver glaze works. They are elegant and beautiful and simply the best way to get started with some art in your house. You can buy a “tamago” cup for just 4,000 yen and can drink artfully everyday. He also makes “museum quality” unique pieces and these sell for about 80,000 yen. I would like to carry them and buy one for my home too, but so far there is no demand for them in the gallery. I have pictures to show if anyone is interested. Most popular now are sake containers and cups–people buy them as a gift–but please buy them for yourself and use them everyday. It will make a big difference in how you feel everyday. We saw one of our clients recently and she said how people come to her house, drink from the cups and love them–what an elegant way to treat guests,but don’t forget to treat yourself the same way. Our chocolate from Shawn Askinosie has been a big hit for Valentines Day. The chocolate was written up in a couple of publications and that brings people in and they look at the art too. We sold out quickly of our first shipment of chocolate and just received another shipment. I like that Shawn gives the chocolate farmers a fair return for their work. In most countries, chocolate farmers are poor and can never escape from poverty, but Shawn helps the farmers, gives them a fair return and even puts their photos on the package. We will continue to carry this chocolate even after Valentines Day. It’s a good fit with what we do.