From 1986 to 2015 I worked on a project based on Tokyo Taxis at night

 
 

Whenever I travel, I always work a project around it to maximise what is possible from the carbon footprint of my journey. This is a comprehensive historical reference of past  designs of Tokyo Taxi signage, now but a memory as they are swallowed up by the larger taxi corporates.

I have always been fascinated with Tokyo Taxi’s ever since I first traveled to Japans capital and saw them for the first time at night many years ago. Each company has it’s own unique illuminated brand design light on the roof, like no other taxi signage you will see anywhere in the world with the density and variety that you will only see here in Tokyo. 

The energy buzzing around the city at night: the company motifs glow with a sense of urgency in the business of someone’s journey playing out. The way the landscape of the city interacts with the reflective surface’s of the taxi is often overlooked, these images capture that light play with the energy and bustle of city life and the stillness of the individual within it. Shot from the saddle of a city bike, hand held shooting on Hasselblad 6x6 film, and as with all my film based works - presented as shot.

Over 90% of these unique taxi firms and their unique signage no longer exist as they have been bought out by the major players for their 'Taxi Licence' which is only transferrable through company / fleet sale, so most of these are no longer seen in operation making them yet another momento mori of what was. You see, even when I am travelling I cannot get away from core signatures or threads in my work.

I will be put together a far broader collection of these works here in the journal soon, be sure to signup to the newletter for updates.

comprehensive travel design series based on the lights of tokyo taxis

tokyo taxi signs by artist alexander james hamilton

cover from the design book Tokyo Taxi

tokyo taxi series by artist alexander james hamilton released as works on paper

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