My little sister and her little drawings: I can't quite recall when it all began, but for a long long time, my sister Sachi Komai has been drawing. While I am more of a dabbler, she is, what I would consider, a serious artist. For a while now she has been meticulously drawing in pencil on little tags. This started, more or less, during her graduate school years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she got her M.F.A. The small area for drawing helps frame the design and has really suited her detailed drawings.
Initially the tags were linked to identity -- just as price tags provide information about an object and its value, Sachi's tags identified a person and signified the sentimental value of the selected objects. This led to the ongoing series of tag portraits. The question to answer is, if you were to choose five items that represent yourself, what would they be? After coming up with a list of objects, Sachi uses reference books and photographs provided to draw one tag for each item. It's always interesting to see what items are selected, and how those shape your perception of the person. Here are a few samples: that's Tom, Sachi's husband, and a recent commission. She has created such tag portraits for individuals and for couples, as wedding presents, graduation gifts, and more.
Tags drawn include: teapot, stethoscope, sewing machine, Jeep, chainsaw, guitar, ballet slippers, airplane, binoculars, cooking pot, harp, tennis racquet, tent, canoe, kayak, BBQ pulled pork sandwich, log cabin, piano keys, axe, suitcase, feather, cupcake, wine bottle, soccer ball, Big Ben, Sears Tower, sailboat, book, coffee mug, broom, running shoes, palm tree, oysters.
I've tried to come up with a list of five for myself but can't seem to stop at just five.
Sachi has continued the tag series with more general images. Some are drawn from nature such as shells, feathers, sticks, nests; others from the different cultures: Japanese dishes, Mexican milagros; others from the everyday world: gardening tools, kitchen utensils. Most recently, she created a series of Madison tags including the state capitol, a sailboat, a Union terrace chair, a "W" and a pile of farmer's market vegetables.
I am completely in awe of her eye for detail and her talent for drawing. When we used to share an apartment, I watched her, many a night, hunched over our coffee table, drawing tiny drawings on tiny tags. I look at the simple mechanical pencil that she uses and marvel over what is produced.
Sachi's work has been featured in Somerset Studio magazine, where she described her tag portraits. The article also features one of her big tag drawings with a grid of 50 tags picturing household items from lunch bag and cookie cutter to watering can and potholder. Somerset Studio Sept/Oct 2006
At Anthology we have Sachi's two large pieces which feature pencil drawings of many small everday Japanese elements, some original tag drawings, prints of her Madison tags, and soldered/epoxy necklaces incorporating prints of her drawings. We also have examples of the tag portraits including our dad and Sachi's husband, and of course, you may commission your very own tag portrait. Other Sachi creations at Anthology include: color collage packs, soldered necklaces and ornaments that incorporate vintage recipe book pictures, cards including her popular weiner bacon roll-up card, embroidered baby shirts and onesies, her original "Madison Baby" design onesie, Madison photo collages, ruffled aprons, fake cakes made of plaster, magnets, and button bracelets.