Long before cosplayers, even before otaku, there was Moira Hahn and her animals. At Gregorio Escalante Gallery in Chinatown, Hahn’s exquisite and precise, masterful watercolor technique orchestrates a complex, layered dance of colors and patterns. Monkeys, cats, rats, along with chimeras from myths and anime icons such as Doraemon and Astro Boy, all partake in Hahn’s topical narratives. In one scene, even Donald Trump makes an appearance, red-faced and blowing heatwaves of powerful, chaotic wind.
Donning beautiful getups from Japan’s bygone eras, Hahn’s creatures are essentially a bunch of otaku animals gathered together for a great orgy of never ending cosplay, pretending to be humans. What is the allure of this traditional Japanese aesthetics which no longer occupies the mind of average Japanese citizens? That remains unanswered. What is clear are Hahn’s obsession, commitment, and attention to detail. Meticulously crafted as if they were tattooed on someone’s skin, Moira’s watercolor animals are a seriously fun love affair.
Visit Gregorio Escalante’s website for more information about the show. Images courtesy of gallery and artist.