Who is that angry alien?

cropped-ji-fu-hanko-red-on-white-circle.jpg

This angry alien is my hanko, a personal seal I used to sign my work while studying sumi-e, traditional Japanese painting. My instructor insisted I get one, and my classmates helped me choose the design.

Because I have a western name, I cannot write it using characters in the Japanese kanji alphabet. I first had to transliterate my name ‘Jeff’ into the closest phonetic characters in the hiragana alphabet, which wound up being “Ji” and “Fu”.

Next, I got to pick from a list of kanji pronounced Ji and Fu. Each kanji had its own meaning, and together they would produce my new artist name. Some of the combinations were strange, and some were over the top. It is considered poor form for both of your names to be bold (e.g: Awesome Thunder!), so I chose ‘luck’ for Ji (a traditional favorite) and ‘wind’ for Fu.

This gave me the name ‘Lucky Wind’, or ‘Wind That Brings Luck’.

Next I commissioned a hanko company to create the stamp. They converted my chosen modern kanji characters into their traditional historical form, which was the ancient script of the Chinese Han alphabet.

When I saw that angry one eyed alien, I was sold. These days I spend my time writing instead of practicing sumi-e or shodo calligraphy, so the alien is going to rep my work in fiction. Don’t worry, he’s not really mad. He’s just working hard.

shodo4 paintings sumi e

cat sumi e

 

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