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Title: Mr Zen

Date: 2021

Height: 148 cm

Signature: bottom right foot

Medium: Acrylics, acrylic markers, faux crystals, bonsai tree, moss, varnish

Additional information: Mr Zen is the epitome of calmness, serenity… but he keeps a secret.

Despite growing a bonsai tree on top of his head, his body is covered in tattoos.

Those tattoos somewhat refer to Chinese ceramics, the art of Japanese kintsugi, but also… Yakuza tattoos. If you look closely at his back, you will notice the inspiration with the Yakuza.

For those who don’t know, Yakuza, also known as gokudō („the extreme path”) are members of organized crime syndicates originating in Japan in the XVIIth century.

The English equivalent for the term yakuza is gangster, meaning an individual involved in a Mafia-like criminal organization.The yakuza are known for their strict codes of conduct, their organized fiefdom nature and several unconventional ritual practices such as yubitsume or amputation of the left little finger. In the case of Mr Zen, he used to have his entire hand amputated, and I had to glue a new one, which would suggest he might have been a former yakuza member, who decided to follow the path of zen and let go of his criminal past.


Mr. Zen

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