CRUCIFICTION

Many decades ago, when I was a graphic artist, we were told a cautionary tale with regards to checking your sources when combining foreign elements in a design
Seemingly, or so the story goes, when Japan was becoming Americanised in it’s commercial culture, some time during the late 60’s, the concept of Christmas as a shopping extravaganza was slowly and gradually foisted on the non-Christian, Japanese consumer.
To this end, a major department store in Tokyo commissioned two trendy, young, inexperienced but hip, Japanese designers to produce a huge & costly window display for their flagship store.
Being in an era before Google and the Internet, artists would leaf through books and magazines to obtain source material and artistic references and inspirations when designing such a major undertaking
If I, for example, were designing a Japanese-themed display at that time, I would probably have referenced images of snow-topped Mount Fuji, lotus blossom, the Rising Sun emblem, samurai, Japanese calligraphy, etc
The young Japanese designers obviously did the same, and produced a snow-covered landscape, with reindeer, snowmen, penguins, in pride of place, at the centre of it all, a large, and beautifully fashioned, Santa Claus figure nailed to a seven-foot high wooden cross.
A beautiful cross-fertilisation of Christian symbolism, in a manner that any non-Japanese artist might’ve easily misinterpreted Shinto symbols … maybe!!!
Whether true or not, I’ve always loved the idea of a crucified Santa … and being a heathen, non-believer who is aghast at Xmas tacky decorations, imagery, and symbolism, I’m amazed it took me so long to realize that vision.
Merry Whatsits To Y’All … Do What Ya Do!!
Love’n Stuff – Stu & Maggi