Urban Tiger

Mask Design by James

Materials: laundry detergent bottle, felt, sharpie pen and white-out, various street barriers

The Korean tiger is ubiquitous in mythology, religious imagery, advertising, and in the psyche of the Korean people. Stone tigers were placed to guard the entries of palaces, and the tiger was used as the mascot for the Seoul Olympics. Tigers were believed to carry the spirits of mountain deities, yet the last known living tiger in Korea was poached in the 1930s.

It occurred to me one day that if these animals are truly spiritual, than perhaps they do still live among the Korean people. I began to imagine all the orange and black striped barricades throughout Seoul as these hiding tigers, and I gave them a face to make them visible to us.

This project was an offshoot of the found-object design studio I was teaching, offering a critique of our consumerist, modern society. Other projects in this concept were to fashion the endangered Manchurian crane from rags, a phoenix from broken glass bottles, and the wildly coiled Korean dragon from discarded tires.