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Drop Dead Cute Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (March 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081184708X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811847087
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #544,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ivan Vartanian is an author and editor specializing in drawing, photography, and design. He has been based in Tokyo since 1997.

More About the Author

Ivan Vartanian (b. 1972) is native of New York, where he attended New York University, majoring in Biochemistry. After working for Aperture in the mid-1990s, he moved to Tokyo, Japan, where he has been living ever since. We writes, edits, and produces books on art, photography, and design. For additional web-only content on Ivan's books, visit his company's website at www.goliga.com

Currently, he is reading David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest" in tandem with Will Self's "How the Dead Live" and Carl Sagan's "The Varieties of Scientific Experience".

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Merrily Baird on February 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Drop Dead Cute: The New Generation of Women Artists in Japan" is quite simply a book that is drop-dead gorgeous. Ten artists--most in their early thirties--are profiled, and I would, figuratively speaking of course, kill to have the work of any hanging on my walls. As Ivan Vartanian, who has put this book together, notes in his introduction, most of the art reflects the so-called "super-flat" style that is all the rage among Japan's cutting-edge artists. This two-dimensional graphic style is associated with Japanese manga (adult comics) and anime (animated films), and in a number of cases the renderings of female faces here owe a great deal to the childlike, wide-eyed models of manga and anime. Another recurring theme in this art is the emphasis on animals. One artist, for example, repeatedly uses elephants as her theme with a style that resembles a cross between Hello Kitty and Babar. In large part it is this prevalence of lovable animals, child-like faces, and various dream-like themes that has led Vartanian and others to label the work of these artists "kawaii," the Japanese word for cute.

Personally I would be more inclined to apply the word "kowai," which means "frightening" in Japanese, to the work presented in "Drop Dead Cute." There is an overwhelming sense of loneliness and alienation in this graphic work, a general absence of men and of family life, all sorts of female grotesqueries, and juxtapositions of the horrific and the idyllic. Take, for example, the graphically-stunning work of Chiho Aoshima. In one print she has what is perhaps the most beautiful rendering of a Japanese plum tree that I have ever seen, and this tree in blossom is mixed with images of the mythical paradise of Mount Horai.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kira on January 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
There is very little text in this book.. it is mainly a coffee table book. The essay is by Ivan Vartanian, who I've never heard of and is not really an academic author or scholar. I found it to be a somewhat shallow and somewhat stereotypical discussion of the artists included. The entries for each artist were also very brief. The images, however speak for themselves, and there are quite a few in this slender book. They included several full-color full-page comics by Aya Takano for example. The images are not really "definitive" and they should be supplemental to other reproductions of the artists' works.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Mueller on May 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the diversity of styles presented. High quality images. Well done.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful By iris on March 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
i'm not usually a fan of japanese art, but this book isn't just another anime art collection.

a friend of mine lent this to me (FORCED it on me) about a week ago, and i was skeptical at first. i would only flip through the book at a red light, or when i was stuck in traffic, seeing as how it came to live on my passenger seat where i had been lightly neglecting it since it's arrival. it wasn't until there came a weekend with no good bands in town that i decided to actually devote TIME to looking at this book. i admit, i wasn't immediatley enthralled with it, but it's a hell of a lot better than straight anime, where everyone's art looks the same, and the cat-eared girls and hermaphroditic boys run through magical forests with reckless abandon. no, these pictures had soul. they had meaning. sure, some of them aren't the most detailed and mind-blowing displays of art, but then, they don't have to be. if these women didn't feel it necessary to show off, i say kudos to them. too often is art used to flaunt one's talent, rather than to convey meaning and emotion. and in doing so, the artist loses that freedom to create original works from the heart, and their "art" just becomes a rote and commercialized means of income. just a job. and that's the real test, isn't it? if you can successfully display your message, yet stay true to yourself, to your heart and to your inspiration, then you've made a difference.

so if these women can still pass on their emotions to the general public without losing authenticity, that's really all that matters. for an artist, that's what success is. it's not about money or fame or beauty. just do what you love, and never lose sight of your true style.

anyway, i'm babbling. this is a good book if you're a fan of japanese art, but are tired of mainstream anime. so get up, split from the norm, and check it out.

(but don't insult it because it's not glamourous enough for you!)
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