Yes, your eyes do not mislead you; there are two of him. This project is over four years in the making! We went to Japan with our friends in August 2006 and while we were there I collected all my ticket stubs, receipts, pamphlets...everything! They've been sitting in a paper bag for 4 years, being sporadically relocated throughout the house. Every time I saw them, I kept thinking, "I should do something with these..."
I knew when I saw this week's IF topic that the time had come, so I bought a canvas 2-pack and pulled out my matte medium and started tearing and pasting and sketching. I had no clue if this would work, or if my colored pencils would stay on top of the matte medium, but I had hope because my friend and great illustrator, Siri Weber Feeney, works with colored pencils on top of gesso. A number of hours later, I am at a point sufficient to post, although I am not finished yet. I ran out of matte medium just short of finishing the second collage, although there was enough done in the area I was planning on drawing over. I plan to add some loose sketches/doodles across remaining portions of the canvas, and maybe add a bit more color. I just wanted to get this posted with lots of time for feedback before a new IF topic was posted.
The two guys are not identical: the legs on the original sketch looked off, so I shifted them when I transfered the sketch the first time. It still looked off, so I ended up going back to the original placement for the second drawing. I guess some times, it all depends on the angle you are looking at it.
As far as the inspiration for the drawing? Simple: we saw him in Japan! It was one of my favorite photos that we took in Japan. I would like to say that I took it, but we had 2 cameras and 4 people, so I don't know for sure. I love the juxtaposition of the modern and traditional. If anyone happens to know this random guy photographed, please tell him a couple of Americans think he's really cool!