Alan Cernak is creating a vlog documenting travels in Japan as I digitally restore art
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The Japan Video Blog:
Join me on my YouTube channel, Alan's Japanecdotes, and follow me as I explore little-seen Southern Japan! As I travel around Japan in search of ancient and damaged cultural artwork to include in my Shrine Paintings Project (see below), I post videos showing rural and suburban Japan -- not metropolitan, modern Tokyo or visible, historical Kyoto, but Japan as it is for most of those who live there. I also post image updates on my blog, Alancernak.com, as I locate and begin to digitally restore new Shrine Paintings. Both my YouTube video blog and my alancernak.com blog are completely free to view.


Please skip to 00:13 to avoid shaking camera! On my next trip I will be using a GoPro as well as a Theta 360 degree camera, so the videos will be much smoother. The Theta 360 degree camera will also allow me to create videos that are interactive -- while you view the videos, you will be able to move the view of the camera to look around!




The Shrine Project:
During my residency at Studio KURA in 2013 in Itoshima in southern Japan, I visited many local shrines and temples. It was a very rural area. Sadly, many of the shrines were in disrepair, and centuries-old paintings at the shrines were being rapidly lost due to weather damage. These artworks often depict important events in local history and culture. Many were only 20-30% still visible. I thought about what a huge loss it would be if these paintings and they cultural information they contain disappeared forever, and then had the idea to digitally re-create these paintings.
Below is an example of one of the first such Shrine Paintings I completed, re-painting the image using Photoshop:
                                                            
The original painting was in a small shrine near Studio KURA. The image was so damaged that nearly all the blue color was gone.

I completed 3 Shrine Paintings while I was in Itoshima, and have made more since coming home to America. I work to fill in the parts of the paintings which have been erased by time and weather with thematic continuity, researching the era in which the painting was made so that I can paint the armor and dress accurately. Below is another of the Itoshima Shrine Paintings. I restored it digitally, and then recreated the digital painting using acrylic ink:

My goal now is to expand this project beyond Itoshima to other parts of Japan. I would like to visit rural shrines in a variety of areas, but my next immediate destination is the Aso region, which suffered much damage in the recent Kumamoto earthquake. The earthquake caused many buildings in the area to collapse, putting the art in shrines and temples there in even greater danger of irreparable destruction. While there, I also plan to try to document the recovery efforts in the Kumamoto region in order to raise awareness of the ongoing difficulties for those living there.

In the future, I hope to work with the local people, historians and curators in Kyushu to further document the history and culture of these paintings. I'd like to broaden the scope of the Shrine Project if I can, to include artists in other rural areas to do similar research with their local shrines.

Eventually, images of all the Shrine Paintings (both the original damaged artwork and the digital restoration) as well as information on what each one depicts will be available to view in an expanding online database which will include art from all over Japan.

And this is where you come in.
As important as I think this work is, much of it is (for now) essentially unpaid. I try to provide all my content, including the video blog and the Shrine Painting images and information, for free so that as many people can see and learn from them as possible.
I must cover my own travel costs to and from Japan (and from town to town once I am there), as well as lodging and equipment (camera, computer, drawing software, wacom tablet, etc). It's your support that really makes the Shrine Project possible. Even $1 a month adds up like you wouldn't believe. Please, spread the word -- tell your friends! Tell your classmates and teachers! I appreciate every watch, share, and cent.
Tiers
Pledge $1 or more per month
1 patron
For just $1 a month, you can be a part of the documentation and research into beautiful and ancient works of art that might otherwise be lost to the passing of time, their stories forgotten. $1 might not seem like a lot, but every little bit truly helps me to keep going with this important cultural project.
Pledge $5 or more per month
0 patrons
For a $5/month contribution, I will send you a slip of traditional Japanese washi paper with your name (or a word of your choice) painted on it in kanji or katakana.
Pledge $10 or more per month
0 patrons
For every 3  months you are a $10 patron you can choose any of my 11x17 prints
Pledge $30 or more per month
0 patrons
For every 2 months you are a $30 patron, you get one of  rewards: a poster print of any of my artwork (including the Shrine Pictures)   or a wallet made from traditional Japanese washi paper.
Click here for full gallery of my work
Pledge $50 or more per month
0 patrons
For ever 3 months that you are a $50 patron, I will send you a T-shirt with any of my artwork, including the Shrine Pictures, printed on it. You can see my full gallery of work at alancernak.com
Click here for full gallery of my work
Pledge $60 or more per month
0 patrons
For every month that you are a $60 level patron, choose any 2 of my 11 x 17 prints
Pledge $100 or more per month
0 patrons
This level of patronage is intended for groups or schools. 
Pledge $300 or more per month
0 patrons
For $300, I will mail you a high-quality signed  print of any of my artwork, including the Shrine Pictures, done on heavyweight archival stock paper. If only one print is desired, feel free to cancel patronage after one month.

Click here for gallery
Pledge $3,000 or more per month
0 patrons
For $3,000, I will send you an original acrylic ink restoration of one Shrine Picture of your choice. Various sizes available from 40 x 60 cm to 60 x 80 cm (around 16 x 24 in). You may cancel your patronage after one month if you only wish to receive one painting.

Click here for gallery
Goals
$0 of $1,000 per month
Documentation in Aso: in the fall of 2016, I will travel to the Aso region in Kyushu, Japan. Aso and the surrounding area suffered a devastating harm in the recent Kumamoto earthquake, and I aim to focus my documentation efforts on shrines and temples in that region, both to raise awareness of the ongoing seriousness of the situation there and to try to save paintings put in further danger by collapsed or damaged buildings .
1 of 1
The Japan Video Blog:
Join me on my YouTube channel, Alan's Japanecdotes, and follow me as I explore little-seen Southern Japan! As I travel around Japan in search of ancient and damaged cultural artwork to include in my Shrine Paintings Project (see below), I post videos showing rural and suburban Japan -- not metropolitan, modern Tokyo or visible, historical Kyoto, but Japan as it is for most of those who live there. I also post image updates on my blog, Alancernak.com, as I locate and begin to digitally restore new Shrine Paintings. Both my YouTube video blog and my alancernak.com blog are completely free to view.


Please skip to 00:13 to avoid shaking camera! On my next trip I will be using a GoPro as well as a Theta 360 degree camera, so the videos will be much smoother. The Theta 360 degree camera will also allow me to create videos that are interactive -- while you view the videos, you will be able to move the view of the camera to look around!




The Shrine Project:
During my residency at Studio KURA in 2013 in Itoshima in southern Japan, I visited many local shrines and temples. It was a very rural area. Sadly, many of the shrines were in disrepair, and centuries-old paintings at the shrines were being rapidly lost due to weather damage. These artworks often depict important events in local history and culture. Many were only 20-30% still visible. I thought about what a huge loss it would be if these paintings and they cultural information they contain disappeared forever, and then had the idea to digitally re-create these paintings.
Below is an example of one of the first such Shrine Paintings I completed, re-painting the image using Photoshop:
                                                            
The original painting was in a small shrine near Studio KURA. The image was so damaged that nearly all the blue color was gone.

I completed 3 Shrine Paintings while I was in Itoshima, and have made more since coming home to America. I work to fill in the parts of the paintings which have been erased by time and weather with thematic continuity, researching the era in which the painting was made so that I can paint the armor and dress accurately. Below is another of the Itoshima Shrine Paintings. I restored it digitally, and then recreated the digital painting using acrylic ink:

My goal now is to expand this project beyond Itoshima to other parts of Japan. I would like to visit rural shrines in a variety of areas, but my next immediate destination is the Aso region, which suffered much damage in the recent Kumamoto earthquake. The earthquake caused many buildings in the area to collapse, putting the art in shrines and temples there in even greater danger of irreparable destruction. While there, I also plan to try to document the recovery efforts in the Kumamoto region in order to raise awareness of the ongoing difficulties for those living there.

In the future, I hope to work with the local people, historians and curators in Kyushu to further document the history and culture of these paintings. I'd like to broaden the scope of the Shrine Project if I can, to include artists in other rural areas to do similar research with their local shrines.

Eventually, images of all the Shrine Paintings (both the original damaged artwork and the digital restoration) as well as information on what each one depicts will be available to view in an expanding online database which will include art from all over Japan.

And this is where you come in.
As important as I think this work is, much of it is (for now) essentially unpaid. I try to provide all my content, including the video blog and the Shrine Painting images and information, for free so that as many people can see and learn from them as possible.
I must cover my own travel costs to and from Japan (and from town to town once I am there), as well as lodging and equipment (camera, computer, drawing software, wacom tablet, etc). It's your support that really makes the Shrine Project possible. Even $1 a month adds up like you wouldn't believe. Please, spread the word -- tell your friends! Tell your classmates and teachers! I appreciate every watch, share, and cent.

Recent posts by Alan Cernak

Tiers
Pledge $1 or more per month
1 patron
For just $1 a month, you can be a part of the documentation and research into beautiful and ancient works of art that might otherwise be lost to the passing of time, their stories forgotten. $1 might not seem like a lot, but every little bit truly helps me to keep going with this important cultural project.
Pledge $5 or more per month
0 patrons
For a $5/month contribution, I will send you a slip of traditional Japanese washi paper with your name (or a word of your choice) painted on it in kanji or katakana.
Pledge $10 or more per month
0 patrons
For every 3  months you are a $10 patron you can choose any of my 11x17 prints
Pledge $30 or more per month
0 patrons
For every 2 months you are a $30 patron, you get one of  rewards: a poster print of any of my artwork (including the Shrine Pictures)   or a wallet made from traditional Japanese washi paper.
Click here for full gallery of my work
Pledge $50 or more per month
0 patrons
For ever 3 months that you are a $50 patron, I will send you a T-shirt with any of my artwork, including the Shrine Pictures, printed on it. You can see my full gallery of work at alancernak.com
Click here for full gallery of my work
Pledge $60 or more per month
0 patrons
For every month that you are a $60 level patron, choose any 2 of my 11 x 17 prints
Pledge $100 or more per month
0 patrons
This level of patronage is intended for groups or schools. 
Pledge $300 or more per month
0 patrons
For $300, I will mail you a high-quality signed  print of any of my artwork, including the Shrine Pictures, done on heavyweight archival stock paper. If only one print is desired, feel free to cancel patronage after one month.

Click here for gallery
Pledge $3,000 or more per month
0 patrons
For $3,000, I will send you an original acrylic ink restoration of one Shrine Picture of your choice. Various sizes available from 40 x 60 cm to 60 x 80 cm (around 16 x 24 in). You may cancel your patronage after one month if you only wish to receive one painting.

Click here for gallery