Graffiti Girl “Fuji Aya, the love-ballad singer whose scanties are always black.” On the street at intersections in Japan, 止まれ tomare (“stop”) is written in kanji and hiragana. Instead of that, the artist has used katakana to write sutoppu (“stop” pronounced according to the Japanese phonetic system). Mobacchaō: Verb made from the English “mobile,” used to say, “Let’s call each other on our cell phones.” Typical teenage gyaru. Teikyūbi wo nozoku: “Except on regular holidays.” Silhouette of a traditonally dressed geisha holding an oiled-paper umbrella, crossed out. Naoko-san suki desu: “I like Naoko-san” Gyaru-jan: Mahjong parlor where young women (gyaru) are employed as attendants, to attract customers. Deli-Heru Jō: Deribarī-Herusu (“delivery-health”) Miss – i.e., call-girl. A V-sign (said to mean “peace”) which Japanese girls often make when they are photographed. All four girls in the painting are making the V-sign. (Can you find them all?) Ni-kai: “Second floor.” “I'm waiting for that cute high-school girl who…” Two signs: Irohani, Hohetō, in a pun based on the old arrangement of 47 Japanese kana into a poem on the transitory nature of life. The first 7 syllables of the poem actually refer to the impermanence of physical beauty, but here the meaning is facetiously changed and the phrase is divided into two signs: Irohani on the upper sign is a fictitious type of boiled food; Hohetō on the lower one is a fictitious type of sugar. Miko no Inori: “The Shrine-Maiden’s Prayer,” a video by multi-media artist Mori Mariko, in which she appears as a science-fiction-like creature with a crystal ball. Her name is written at the bottom. Kitī-Rando: “Kitty-Land.” (Does such a paradise exist?) Cibo Matto: The Italian name of this New-York-based band of two Japanese women means “crazy food.” Their names, Hatori Miho and Honda Yuka, are written vertically below. The sign alludes to their song from Viva La Woman, “White Pepper Ice Cream”: “…I’m in the crossword puzzle, but I can’t fill in the blank…” Obi-sugo ja nai!: “…is totally terrific!”
Graffiti Girl (絵馬ギャル) detail, 2005
acrylic on canvas painting, 72″ × 54″