My enchantment with the yin of the east as seen through western eyes began in 1995 on my first trip to the Morikami Japanese Museum and Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida. It was like the artist’s pilgrimage that I had made to Italy as a young man, which caused me to want to paint for the rest of my life. Only this short trip from home seemed to transcend identity and purpose and carried me away into a sort of mysterious fantasy that I’ve never quite awoken from.
On the practical side of things, it wasn’t long after falling in love with the art of Asia that the internet revolution took hold and I discovered that my geek nature was well suited for web development and digital product design. During the many years that I worked for technology companies, I twice had the opportunity to travel to Asia. My first trip in 2010, brought me to China, a land of natural splendor and beauty, as well as breathtaking art. Monochromatic landscapes and ink wash art fueled my creativity and thus began a time of much productivity and a few exhibits. In 2013, I went to Kyoto, Japan, another life-changing experience that again inspired me to produce much art. My fascination has only increased over the years. Together with the writings of Haruki Murikami, the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki, Tokyo fashion, cosplay, manga, geisha, and samurai, I found a rich visual language for magical realism and pop surrealism.
The popularity of such things among the American youth provides a ‘geek culture’ ‘spirit of the age’ that mutually inspires artists and art lovers. Taking advantage of this zeitgeist—the subtle and more profound concepts of eastern thought—I tried to convey through glorious and ridiculous Japanese anime characters something of the notion of mono no aware (sensitivity to the beauty of impermanence).
In 2019 I began teaching an anime and manga drawing class. This is where my geek nature came in handy again since I was most definitely an otaku and could relate to my much younger students who were obsessed with anime. As things turned out, it would be the students that were the ones to teach the teacher. My artwork is the product of all their enthusiasm for art.
I live in Sunrise, Florida (The other land of the rising sun) with my wife, Ching Yi (Jean), and my Maltese mix, Cosplay.
Email me if you’d like to discuss your superpowers, or anything else.
Ching Yi: Princess of Clouds (2019) by Jean Aleman Ages 4 to 9
Ching Yi is a timid little girl who is being bullied at school.
But then she discovers that she has the power to control clouds. And then her whole world changes.
This book is the story of one girl’s journey from shyness to confidence, from loneliness to friendship.
Purchase paperback or e-book