If you visited either of the
MCM London Expo events this year may have noticed a new stall -
A small group of Japanese artists based in London, UY formed in
the spring of 2006 and have completed several projects since.
Their main focus has been to produce original artwork (so far
distributed in postcard format) and short manga. Taking a trip to
their stall at their Expo revealed an array of styles from the UY
artists and the gentle manga The Day Dreamer which displays
several abstract and sci-fi influences. This range is not
surprising as resident UY artist Sato reveals that the group is
not just influenced by Japanese art but also by French artist Rene
LaLoux (Fantastic Planet) and even Walt Disney's interpretation
of Alice In Wonderland. This mix gives each artist their
own unique look and already guarantees a wide variety even in their
current state as a small group.
Despite enjoying success at the Expo and having their products stocked in
shops in London and Brighton, Sato says that UY will not be
taking things too fast. 'To be honest', Sato answers when asked if
the UK market is big enough to sustain small groups such as UY,
'we do not think it is big enough yet, not as big as the market in Japan
or France.' The appearance of small groups and independent artists
is much higher then it was a few years ago though and so Sato continues
'So we believe the future is bright.' We at Animetion believe so
as well, given the large crowds independent artists draw at Expos.
So what can you expect from UY in 2007? They have confirmed
to us that they will be attending both MCM Expos in London once again,
the UK Web &
Comix Thing on March 17th and will no doubt be attending the IMAF
once again in November. It is likely that they will be
producing manga in graphic novel form as well as their 'monthly size'
comics and expanded into prints, posters and t-shirts in the new year.
They have already had several guest artists produce work for them as
well, so we could see even more contributions in 2007.
UY have informed us that they will be launching mail order on
their website soon, but in the mean time their products are available
Orbital Comics in London, as well as
Comic Shop in Brighton.
And finally if you are wondering what Umisen Yamasen stands for,
Sato says it comes from the legend 'a snake which lives by the sea
(Umi) for a thousand (sen) years, and at
mountain (Yama) for a thousand (sen) years,
which symbolises 'magnificent beings'. Apparently it also
translates as 'a cunning person who knows a lot of sly tricks by
experiences.' Make of the translations what you will, but we hope
to see UY make an impact in 2007 and contribute to a growing
independent UK market.