Akiko Masker's primary inspiration for this series comes from Ukiyo-e, a genre of Japanese art that was popular in Japan between the 17th and the 20th centuries. Its appeal comes not only from its great beauty, but also from its accessibility to the Japanese people.
Often translated as “scenes from the floating world,” Ukiyo-e was popular with many people in Japan because it was mass-produced using woodblock prints. This popularity also stemmed from the often-depicted scenes of fleeting beauty and pleasure both from the realm of nature and from that of society, which the Japanese enjoyed because such scenes were often far different and divorced from the lives and cares of the common people.
In her work, Masker experiments with the interplay between the material world and the “floating world” but with a more modern take on the “floating world.” She starts with a material object such as a canvas. She then takes a digital picture, manipulates that image, prints it, and overlays it onto the surface. Finally, Masker incorporates industrial materials such as spray paint or string to give the object a sense of being both two and three-dimensional. In this way she attempts to create a world that is both alien and familiar and one that exists both within and outside of us.