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Japan's Ukiyo-e Project revitalizes classic art form

Innovative techniques and respect for tradition give contemporary look to woodblock prints

Prints from Ukiyo-e Project’s series featuring portraits of rock stars, including the members of the band Kiss, left, and David Bowie. (Courtesy of Ukiyo-e Project)

TOKYO -- In art and design, what is old can feel new again when something from the past is rediscovered by a new generation of creative types rummaging through history's grab bag of forgotten styles and trends.

It is in this spirit that Ukiyo-e Project, which was launched in 2014, has been nurturing the production of one of Japan's oldest art forms -- handcrafted woodblock prints, or ukiyo-e -- in high-quality limited editions. But its productions come with a twist in terms of the subjects they portray, including iconic faces and scenes from the 21st century. To create each print in a still-expanding portfolio of remarkable images, the company assembles teams of skilled experts who work together to realize each new work using centuries-old printmaking techniques.

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