My friend Lok Jansen is an architect, illustrator, and all around awesome person. He lives in Tokyo with his equally awesome wife Naoko and I don’t see them enough. Fortunately, Lok occasionally hits me off with some of his latest work, and somehow the space between here and there feels smaller. Yesterday was such a day – in my inbox, amongst the boring work shit and junk mail, I found a glowing orb of flavor in a the form of email from Lok with 4 sketches attached. The sketches are inspired by the urban villages around southern China. (I wrote a little bit about a visit I made to one in this post from a while ago.)

Anyway, these sketches are great. Here’s what Lok said about them:

I’m doing these for a new cityscape or two about the Urban Villages. Went and spent time in a couple of them in Shenzhen and in Guangzhou. Places like the Handshake Apartments (Wo Shou Lau) in Shenzhen, and Ba Deng Cun (巴登村). After the mostly Japanese cityscapes I was looking for something new and was of course struck by the very high density, the amount of life, activity, struggle and joy. Which is why I added people to these for the first time – to have them contrast with the wild machine-like surroundings, and have the environment stand for the overwhelming situation the people are trying to overcome. I was impressed by peoples ‘let’s make some money’ attitude, but also struck by the vulnerability of each individual. And of course I wanted to do tribute to the pajama stylo.

Here they are (click to enlarge highly recommended):

And as an extra bonus, here’s a short film Lok made while walking through the “handshake apartments” (握手楼, so named because the buildings are packed in so tight that neighbors can shake hands out of their windows) in Shenzhen. I think a lot of what Lok mentioned is evident here and it makes the sketches that much more beautiful.

[qt:/videos/lokwoshoulau480.m4v 480 280]

Check out more of Lok’s work at this site

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