the Gates of Japan


I saw 1,000 toriis in Kyoto. Did you hear me, ONE THOUSAND TORIIS!! Going up the side of a mountain. Creating a tunnel of red, orange, pink and mauve through a forest of green and moss. UNREAL. This is DEFINITELY where Christo and Jean-Claude developed their idea for the Gates in Central Park. C’mon Christo, ‘fess up. And why not? It’s still a great idea to do it in New York, even if it was done in Kyoto hundreds of years ago. And all that business about it not meaning anything – well, I’ll tell you what it means. The torii are a gate to mark a sacred space in nature. It is thought to be derived from an ancient practice of tying a rope between two trees to mark off a place in the forest as holy. And what could be a more holy space in New York City than Central Park? Just ask any New Yorker spending August in the city. We need that sacred spot for our sanity!

Maybe it is just a coincidence that Christo created “the Gates” in New York and that some unknown artists built 1,000 gates – toriis – through the forests in Japan. People do tend to do the same things and experience the same emotions over time. I don’t know, either way, I loved it in New York and I loved it in Kyoto.


Comments (5)

  1. Eliot

    Now that’s a stunning piece– after all the careful black/toned pieces this riot of color. Are you sure “toriis” isn’t more related to “tourist?” After all *you’re* there looking at ’em!
    Still, great fun to see,

  2. Jeanette

    Hi Ronnie! What a beautiful watercolor. It’s making my mouth water! I agree about Christo – if he would have talked about his cultural influence, he could of added so much more meaning to his project. Instead, we New Yorkers just had to come to our own conclusions about it – but it was a great idea. Hope you’re doing well – I miss you guys!

  3. Neil

    This drawing of Toriis conveys a sense of both density and variety. I definately get the feeling of “1,000” from this work. Your variations in color around the pink further expands the viewers sense of space. Looking at this I get the sense of an entry into something much larger; as if a teaser to some place which is much much more. It shows your talents very well.

  4. Matthew Cencich

    Wow – I saw this sketch on the urban sketchers blog header.
    I love it ! Your work is very good and inspiring.

  5. Widya

    Wow! You definitely know your way with all those brush, paints, and colors! Stunning drawing. It is even better than the thousands of photographs of the torii I’ve seen on the internet and books. I really love your Senso-ji sketch, too.

    Hope to see more of your works!

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