there were some incredible woodblock print artists
throughout history, one in particular was known for being a
top teacher – Toyokuni.
During his career in teaching this art form, he had a
number of prolific students, two in particular being
Kunisada and Kuniyoshi.
One of the unique aspects of Toyokuni’s teaching
was taking Ukiyo-e and enhancing it, pushing it to the
When you look at Kuniyoshi’s work compared to other
artists, you might think of his work as being
if you take the variety and style of products, you can see
the amazing work created, very different from other artists
working on woodblock prints.
In fact, Kuniyoshi’s experimentation is what sets
him apart from many other artists.
To give you an idea of what we mean many of the
changes seen in woodblock prints is slow.
In other words, changes are typically done over time,
not overnight. However,
with Kuniyoshi, you see a different approach in that he
tends to take chances.
If you were to look at his woodblock print work from
the start to finish of his career, you would be amazed and
realize the hard impact he has made in the field of
Typically, artists who created woodblock prints kept
it safe, taking
some change but very small.
With Kuniyoshi, you see him stepping outside the box,
moving to periodic changes that keeps his work refreshing
and interesting. This
infusion of fresh ideas has made him a popular choice.
Another aspect of Kuniyoshi’s work that sets him
apart is the incredible detailing.
Each of his woodblock prints tells a story within a
story due to the amazing focus on every small detail.
Many of the woodblock print artists from this period
responded to the public’s demand.
Keep in mind that in Japan, there was a certain
culture that was both popular and accepted.
For this reason, many of the production coming out of
the Utagawa School during the 19th century leaned
more toward media than actual art.
The creations you did see were typically that of the
floating world, beautiful women, Kabuki theater, and
high-end fashion. If
you want something that defies tradition, you should look
for prints created by Kuniyoshi.