Not everyone has the balls to make studying monsters their life’s work, but Crystal Morey isn’t everyone. Exchanging her Texas homeland for Japan a few years ago with the goals of making sure her daughter was bilingual and opening a school were just the opening acts in her international adventure. Since then she’s become an expert on mythical creatures and Japanese imagery, a publisher of books and cultivator of art from around the world. Now Morey is in town to present her latest collectionof art at the Gomineko Crew Show opening at Paia Tattoo Parlor and will be teaching a seminar this Saturday as well.
“This show took me about three months to put together once I knew I was coming,” says Morey. “I travel all around the world. I am in a different location on the globe every month. It’s incredible to have these pieces from a group of artists that are very talented. We have art from Japan, New York, Arizona, Colorado, Australia and Texas.”
The Gomineko Crew of artists has been born from from Morey’s book publishing company, Gomineko Books and her travel. Her books and bookstore (found at Gominekobooks.com) are an amazing resource of Japanese art and subculture that can’t be found anywhere else. Morey travels around the globe to build these books, and meet artists and enthusiasts hungry for the information she shares.
“I want to form a network that allows people to travel and be well received,” she says. “If you have a good attitude, then we can include you. I meet people who are creatively brilliant and are good characters and that’s what this is about.”
Her most recent book features the work of Adam Kitamoto, titled Myths, Gods and Legends. Another work, Japanese Mythical Creatures, includes illustrations of Kappa, Kirin, Baku, Nue, Kitsune and Tsuchigumo from more than 120 artists from around the world. The book has a chapter for each creature, each with an introduction by Morey about the beast, and then the artists’ renderings of the creatures. Submissions include art from Horiyoshi III, Horitake, Ade, Horishin and Horiken.
“I figured if people were going to do these pieces for a show, then I would do a book, too.” says Morey. “We took these paintings to England and Melbourne. If there was a gallery and a convention, I would coordinate it.”
Her show will debut in Maui on the coattails of the recent Honolulu Pacific Ink and Art Expo, which included representation from her Gomineko Books. Morey resides in Japan and her bookstore shares space with three tattoo artists: Horimasa, Horishin and Horiken. Besides curating books and shows, Morey also does tours for adventurous visitors to Japan, who can watch tebori (traditional Japanese hand-poked) tattoo and meet artists. She can also negotiate tattoo appointments for folks on her tours.
The Gomineko Crew art show opening is Thursday at 8pm at the Paia Tattoo Parlor. That night the shop will also be debuting their new gallery space and you’ll be able to meet some visiting artists like William Thideman of Kaze Gallery and Tattoo in Colorado and Moses Garcia from Contra Tattoo in California. Paia Tattoo will also be revealing their permanent collection from in-house artists like Nate Rose, Tony McAboy, Tania Arens and Justin Yates.
Other featured artists include Mike Nomy of South Shore Tattoo in New York; Scott Ellis of Triple Crown Tattoo in Texas; Adam Hays of Lost Texan in Texas and New York; Thomas Asher of Iceland; Horimasa, Horishin and ONEQ from Japan; Cat Bijoux of Tattoo Mania in Montreal; Clint Steele from Brisbane, Australia; Nick Alvarez of Guru Tattoo in CA; and Cissy LaLa from Los Angeles.
On Saturday at 8pm, Morey will be doing a two-hour lecture on the meanings behind Japanese tattoo imagery. Her talk will include discussions of the symbolic meanings behind animals, flowers, gods and characters from Japanese lore.
“Horiyoshi III taught me that if you have time to give, it’s going to come back to you,” says Morey. “So I feel like I have to share what has been given to me. He has been so giving with his information, every time I call he makes time. This is what I am doing to give back.”
The reception starts at 8pm on Thursday at 120 Hana Hwy in Paia. Call 808-579-8515 or email [email protected] for more information or to register for the seminar (space is limited).