Japanese fan of Glasgow band Camera Obscura creates artwork for cancer charity

It promises to be a coming together of one of Scotland's most revered bands and one of its most distant fans, all for a good cause.

Above: Carey Lander. Right: the artwork by Chop Pop inspired by Camera Obscuras video for Lets Get Out Of This Country
Above: Carey Lander. Right: the artwork by Chop Pop inspired by Camera Obscuras video for Lets Get Out Of This Country

A new exhibition will showcase the work of a Japanese visual artist who has painstakingly recreated one of Camera Obscura’s best known music videos using nearly 200 sheets of posterboard.

The alternative, stop-motion video to the indie pop group’s 2006 single, Let’s Get Out Of This Country, has proved a hit online with other fans of the Glasgow band after it was shared on their official YouTube channel.

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The technique, which makes use of brightly coloured card which is then fused together, creates a stained glass effect. It took the artist, Chop Pop, more than five years to complete.

Now, the original materials she used in the labour of love will take pride of place at a charity exhibition in the city.

The event will allow fans to buy one of the 196 original pieces of posterboard in exchange for a donation to Sarcoma UK, the bone and soft tissue cancer charity. It comes two years after Carey Lander, the group’s keyboard player, died from osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, at the age of just 33.

Before her death, Lander set up a JustGiving page to raise money for the charity. The fund-raising appeal is still active, with more than £100,000 donated to date. It is hoped that the sale of Chop Pop’s arresting artworks will further bolster that total.

The artist, whose real name is Tomoe Ishida, lives and works in the port city of Osaka, located on the Japanese island of Honshu.

However, like many music fans, her cultural horizons were expanded by listening to the late John Peel, the Radio 1 DJ who was a tireless champion of new bands.

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Through listening to his show online, Ishida developed a love of Scottish groups such as Belle & Sebastian, The Delgados, Arab Strab, and BMX Bandits.

But it was hearing Camera Obscura’s 2001 debut album, Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi, which “changed her life completely.”

She saved up and bought an airline ticket to Glasgow in 2003, spending six months in the city, during which time she visited some of its celebrated live music venues to watch the bands she listened to via internet radio. Two years later, she returned to the city for an even longer trip, learning English and reacquainting herself with its music scene.

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A few years ago, Ishida decided to combine her love of Scottish pop with her paper-cutting technique, recreating one of Camera Obscura’s videos as part of a project she called ‘Love Letters To Glasgow’.

She explained: “I started to make a paper cover version of Let’s Get Out Of This Country in 2012, but I worried about the copyright and quit it. However, when I heard the sad news about Carey Lander I wanted to help Carey’s campaign for Sarcoma UK, so I restarted the video in October 2015 and now have finally completed it.”

The result recreates the original video – directed by Blair Young – scene for scene, with the multi-coloured postboard being cut and assembled to depict the various band members.

Ishida’s love affair with Glasgow has also seen her create paper artworks commemorating some of its best known sites, such as Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the University of Glasgow, the Botanic Gardens, Bell’s Bridge and Oran Mor.

Sarcoma UK said it was “enthralled with the intricate video” made by Ishida.

The charity exhibition, which has the support of the group and their record label, Elefant Records, is being held at Hillhead Library in Glasgow’s West End on 2 December. www.sarcoma.org.uk