Using thought to analyze reality is illusion;If preoccupied with victory or defeat all will be lost. The secret of Irezumi? Lightning slashes the spring wind!
Alex Reinke aka the Holy Fox is dedicated to keeping the traditional Japanese Zen based spirit of kokoro -a simple translation would be heart or mind and in the emotional sense spirit, courage, affection and inner meaning- alive. This kokoro spirit is to be found in every aspect of traditional Japanese craftsmanship, martial arts, society and culture. An understanding of the Zen philosophy is of great importance for the japanese traditional Irezumi trainee and master likewise. In fact it can be extremely beneficial for everybody. The Japanese public is well aware of that and includes it into everyday life since its existence. Without a certain understanding of this matter one can hardly walk the path of an apprentice from beginning to end, or be able to create truly authentic traditional Japanese arts and crafts including Irezumi. Even just a slight understanding of the Zen-spirit can nurture the capability of loyalty, dutifulness or egolessness that enables you to serve in any situation and put yourself and your interests aside for the benefit of others. It especially brings to light an unmovable compassion for one self and others and the ability to keep these virtues alive troughout the journey as an apprentice and furthermore throughout life itself. Surprisingly his search over the past 2 decades has lead him to realise, that certain aspects of self realisation as thought in zen and some very old traditional Japanese ways and thinking of a certain subculture present in Japan, are not very compatible. However Alex tries all his works to be inspired by this search and to portray this spirit in whatever he does.
For centuries the art of Irezumi is produced and developed before the Zen background, this unique craftsmanship is a pure form of traditional Japanese art and, apart from the pain during the process of getting it, it is in complete harmony with the human body and soul. It underlines the individuality of its wearer and is of high precision and quality. With its historic figures and other traditional motives the Japanese tattoo is no trend phenomenon but a high class piece of art of stunning beauty. Its wearer becomes automatically part of an ancient Japanese tradition and helps to keep it alive.
German born Alex Kofuu Reinke aka the Holy Fox, was for a long time the only and first European who was taken in as an apprentice of a traditional Japanese craftsmanship family, lead by a world famous Irezumi artist of Yokohama, Japan.
Alex, just like his former master, only produces traditional Japanese Irezumi Tattoos. This is done by machine and on request by hand-tool (Tebori). By end of 2015 he will be active in this craft for 20 years. He was interested in Japanese culture, its arts and Zen since his early teens, which helped tremendously throughout his journey in Japan.
There have been numerous articles on – and TV appearances of Horikitsune, focusing on his unique path, in various magazines and programs in different countries over the past two decades.
Alex Reinke was part of the identity design of a Paris based Restaurant called MISS KO alongside the legendary designer Philippe Starck and the GBH design group. He designed the bodysuit and tongue design for the restaurant.
In 2013 Alex had the honor to be part of the Venice Biennale, for which he was filmed at work, by the famous documentary maker Ali Kazma for the Turkish pavilion.
Since May 2011 Alex is ordained as a lay-monk of the Rinzai-Zen order under Zen master Daizan Roshi in London and he took on the Dharma name ‘Hakugen’. The commitment of formally taking the Precepts is an important threshold in the life of a Zen student.
Furthermore has he formed a book publishing company together with his friend Matti Senju Sedholm Horimatsu . It’s called Kofuu-Senju Publications Limited. They published their eights book so far which came out September 2015.
Its important to point out that, except for the printing itself, all the work to produce and publish their high quality, limited edition books is done by Alex and Matti themselves. This includes yearly, frequent and extensive travels to the destinations of interest, photography, writing, editing, book design work, web design work, web hosting, worldwide distribution – including packing of the books and lastly public relations.
Next to the book publishing they like to organize exhibitions around the world on anything connected to the subject matter of Japanese traditional art, especially that of Irezumi tattooing.
All this is performed alongside their full daily work schedule of tattooing and raising their kids.
Even though KS Publications Ltd is a small, family run company in its early stages, they have actually managed to organize big exhibitions in the past few years of their existence.
The first was in the National East-Asian Museum of Sweden in the City of Stockholm, which featured photographs of a renown Japanese master’s tattoo work and parts of the museums collection of Japanese antiques, which Alex and Matti have curated and planned throughout. It was the second most visited exhibition the museum ever had.
Another exhibition named “KOKORO” was held in the beautiful and prestigious setting of Somerset House in London UK. This solo exhibition showcased a famous Japanese master’s traditional Japanese silkscreen scroll art called Kakejiku and some photography by Kofuu-Senju Publications , which was a huge success.
Then Alex has helped put together and was part of the “Exhibition on Body modifications” which was held in the Swiss based Museum of Cultures in Basel City in May 2014. Alex tattooed in the Museum as part of a seminar and KS Publications Ltd has provided photographs and tools that were part of the exhibition. Due to its success the whole exhibition was taken over with all its arte-facts and photographs by the National Museum of World cultures in Amsterdam the Netherlands to be shown in 2015.
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