photographed 11/11/2020
photographed 11/11/2020

I Am Not a Geisha

Daniel Kelly (American, b. 1947)
Lithograph and woodcut
Sheet/image : 44 x 32 in. (1.1 m x 81.28 cm)
Frame : 4 ft. 6 1/2 in. x 41 1/2 in. (1.4 x 1.1 m)
Credit Line
Hope College Collection
Object Number

Tattooing was historically an underground art form in Japan, associated mainly with criminals, female entertainers (geisha), actors, martial artists, and other marginal social groups. Even today there is a certain stigma attached to tattoos in Japan and many Japanese consider it shameful to display a tattoo in public. That stigma makes this portrait of the contemporary Japanese artist and fashion designer Madoka baring her tattoo-covered arm all the more surprising. But as the print’s title and the subject’s defiant facial expression suggest, Madoka is an independent spirit who is not interested in conforming to other people’s tastes and expectations. The portrait was created by American-born artist Daniel Kelly, who moved to Japan in 1979 and apprenticed with the woodblock print master Tokuriki Tomikichiro before establishing his own studio near Kyoto. Over the past forty years, Kelly has earned an international reputation for his innovative paintings and prints that explore the details of everyday Japanese life.

Object Type