Joining the rebellion against traditional Japanese culture, Yoshitomo creates his own unique style in the spirit of current trends. His signature is a bright and very recognizable image of an angry or hateful child. His works have been placed in collections of contemporary art museums in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and many more.
Yoshitomo Nara was born in 1959 in the Japanese city of Hirosaki. He has been drawing since childhood and received an excellent art education ( he graduated from the Düsseldorf Academy of Arts). The audacious creator reached world fame in the 1990s, when his solo exhibitions began opening one by one all over Europe and the United States. His success on an international level became one of the catalysts for Nara’s development as a revolutionary artist. He won the interest of his audience through the topic of childhood, the sincerity of his images and his expressive drawing. His inherent laconism style originates from some of his favorites, anime and manga. Nara also mentions rock music and culture as a source of inspiration.
The subjects of Nara's paintings are small children with gloomy, dissatisfied and vindictive expressions- a complete opposition to usual "open-minded" depictions of children, whose images are recurrent in popular art. His devilish images are very expressive: Nara's works are a protest against strict rules of decency, behavior and good tone, which ruin children’s immediacy. The irony and drama in the artist's work is nothing more than Nara's memories of his youth- his rebelliousness and desire for freedom of expression.
Yoshimoto Nara is also a successful sculptor. His favorite themes are just as present in these structures. A theme in his art is the image of a dog. It is sad and has drooping ears, symbolizing its loneliness. Nara created a series from this. The largest one, “Aomori-ken” is housed in the Aomori Museum of Fine Arts. “White Ghost,” one of his most famous sculptures, was exhibited on New York’s Park Avenue for a couple of months and then moved to the Sculpture Park Pappajohn in Des Moines, Iowa. The market value of his sculptures is estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. On October 15, 2015 at an auction in Phillips, his dog sculpture “I think, therefore, I Am… A Dog” sold for £122,500. It is made of fiberglass and metal. He also uses clay, gypsum, plastic, wood and paper.
Despite being at the peak of his popularity, the artist continues to develop as a creative person. His works are exhibited all around the world, winning the attention of both his audience and professional art critics.
"Life is Only One!" // "I'm Happy To See You"
"Too Young To Die" // "Hyper Enough (to the City)”
«White Ghost», 2010
“I Think, Therefore, I Am… A Dog”, 2003