Yashitomo Nara

Yashitomo Nara Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara specializes in flat, two-dimensional drawings depicting sulky, bigheaded cartoonesque characters who are cunningly cute yet corrosive. His pictures, clearly full of angst, pack a warped visual punch that appeals to a broad range of viewers. During the 1990s, Nara burst onto the international art scene, showing his work at solo exhibitions across the globe, from Tokyo and Berlin to New York and Los Angeles. Within a few years he had achieved cult status for his work, which is admired by art critics and punk kids alike. Nearly every fan can afford a Nara piece to fit their budget. Fine art pieces can top £200,000, while Nara key chains cost just a few dollars. Some critics have been at a loss to describe the Nara phenomenon. Most often they admit it is sometimes hard to take Nara`s work seriously, but on the other hand, they acknowledge it is also hard to dismiss. Art critic Kristin Chambers, writing on the San Jose Museum of Art website, had this to say: “Exploring Nara`s realm and its inhabitants can be as bewildering and delightful as taking one of Alice`s trips through Wonderland.” She went on to describe Nara`s characters as “devilish, fairy-tale strange, and not afraid to embrace the experiences of anxiety, fear, and escape into fantasy that define human existence at any age.” Nara was born on December 5, 1959, in Hirosaki, a rural village in Northern Japan.

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