Yoshitomo Nara

Katherine

Japanese, 1959 –

artist Yoshitomo Nara

Photo credit: SATOKO KAWASAKI

Yoshitomo Nara was born in 1959 in Hirosaki, Japan.  He studied in Japan at Musashino Art University and Aichi Prefectural Art University. Upon graduating, he traveled to Germany and continued his studies at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (German State Academy of Arts).  He remained in Germany and set up his studio.  Here he refined is unique style and began to create his first portraits of mysterious girls with large heads and wide eyes.

By the late 1990s, Yoshitomo Nara worked on creating some CD jacket covers for a Japanese punk band.  This project broaden his audience exposure as an artist.  In 1998, Nara traveled to America and worked as a visiting professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.  By 2000, he moved back to Japan to work.

Today Yoshitomo Nara is one of the leading artists of Japan’s Neo Pop movement.  He has created a distinctive style and best known for his paintings, drawings and sculptures of children, dogs and other animals.  He has been largely influenced by popular culture ranging from manga, anime and punk rock.  Nara’s work mixes Japanese visual traditions with Western Modernism.   The children he paints have both an innocent and devilish quality to them which adds to the intrigue for the viewer.

Yoshitomo Nara’s work is included in prominent collections worldwide, including The British Museum, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, The National Museum of Art, Osaka and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.