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Studio Sunday: Nara Yoshitomo

A photograph of the studio of Nara Yoshimoto


Yoshitomo Nara lives and works in Tokyo, Japan, though his work has been exhibited and collected internationally. Nara is known for his simple drawings of childlike figures, influenced by vintage Japanese animation and comic books, as well as the American influence on the country during the artist’s childhood in the 1960s.


Nara’s studio pictured above has the look of an artistic child’s bedroom. With works spread across the floor and pinned to the wall, it looks as though Nara is quite prolific as an illustrator. The studio looks like it has a number of the comforts of home – a music player, some small shelves and a sofa in the far corner make this studio look like a nice place to spend some time.


I really like seeing all the small works that the artist has spread out across the floor. I wonder if these are just studies, or perhaps drawings for a book project of some sort. The shelves on the wall seem to hold a few art supplies, but also a number of trinkets – seeing as Nara’s work is often inspired by his childhood experiences, I wonder if these objects have any significance or if they serve as inspirations for his style.


Nara is best known for works that feature a single, apparently female figure with staring, child-like features. Nara’s figures are often placed in dramatic or mature situations, or portrayed with a menacing, evil look. The works combine a sense of childlike wonder with the burden of adult knowledge and potential for malice.

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About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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