Last week I found this old "Illustration in Japan" annual in the back room of some office in Osaka, and was surprised to see Raw magazine mentioned in the introduction. I took a grainy camera-phone picture of the page and tried to read it later:
What flashed into my mind that day was the comics magazine Raw, published in New York. I call it a comics magazine, but it is quite different from the comics I have seen up to now. A great deal of time is spent each page, and it is drawn with such care that it would be better to call it a discrete illustration. There are more illustrators than comic specialists among the magazine’s contributors. Mark Beyer, the magazine’s top artist was in Japan recently for his one man show. He said that it takes him one to two weeks to do one page for Raw. I’m quite sure he doesn’t believe it doesn’t matter if the work doesn’t sell, but the work is suffused with a value that is different from “it will sell.” There is a radical aspect to his illustrations that elicits a feeling of uneasiness in those who look at them. In Japan, works that deconstruct the viewer’s everyday spiritual balance have a strong tendency to run headlong in the direction of “Art.” In Raw, there is a kind of visual scandal that attacks human existence in a dimension different from art.
What I am hoping for now is that a new visual scandal for the 80’s will be born in Japan. Such a new visual scandal would not be merely a matter of new techniques, or new subjects, or new themes. It would be a new image compounded of all of them. Today, illustrations are produced on the premise of mass production and mass consumption. They exert a direct influence on their audience. For that very reason, I personally wish that more young illustrators could make their debuts in the pages of this yearbook (i.e., that the open submission system could be expanded), and that the new illustrators thereafter would approach their work with more enthusiasm.
I'd never thought that Raw might have had an influence on Japanese artists. Cool!
Also, Mr. Jog just finished this big long article about a manga anthology from the early 80's here, which is maybe related to this.