Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967

Masa (Amherst- Tattoo Design Upper Sheet)

conté on paper with white highlights on grey Ingres paper, signed at lower right, BINNIE 2015 with red artist's kanji seal Bin-ni, titled at lower left, Masa (Amherst- Tattoo Design Upper Sheet), 2015

25 1/4 by 18 7/8 in., 64 by 48 cm

This drawing demonstrates the artist's process from drawing-from-life sketches, to polished drawings, to paintings and/or woodblock prints. In 2014 Binnie received an interesting commission from the Mead Art Museum who challenged five artists to produce a work of art which interacted with incomplete multi-panel Japanese woodblock prints. In this case, Binnie was presented with the image of an Utagawa school print depicting male legs only- the lower half of a design separated from the upper half which would have more clearly defined the composition. In response, Binnie developed this design of a virile young man, who on the printed version released in 2016 is adorned with a vibrant tattoo of Ushiwakamaru and Benkei which was, in turn, inspired by an original billboard painting by the 20th century artists Torii Kotondo (1900-1976). The pose of this figure, holding the sword above his head, echoes the pose of Ushiwakamaru on the tattoo. The model was also the subject of the 2011 prints Bang Bang and Sharaku's Caricature from the Hundred Shades of Ink of Edo series, and the 2014 print Umbrellas from the Pictorial Allusions series.


Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays, 11am - 5pm, by appointment.

Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit.

site last updated
September 19, 2018

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475