When acclaimed Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara was growing up in rural Honshu, Disney cartoons and album covers provided his first artistic inspiration (his own work has since been featured on record covers for artists including REM). These influences are evident in his cartoonish signature portraits of children – often featuring sly expressions, sticking-out tongues, expletives or weapons in a startling juxtaposition. As Nara’s career has progressed, his work has taken on a more contemplative aura, with milk-white sculptures, folkish ceramics and softer paintings in earthy colours reflecting his interest in the Shinto religion.
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Nara experienced a well-publicised creative block in response to 2011’s Tohoku Earthquake.
Country of Birth
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 'Knife Behind Back', 2019
MoMA, New York, USA
The Hara Museum Collection, Tokyo, JP
Yoshitomo Nara, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, USA, 2020
For Better or Worse, The Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota, Aichi, JP, 2017
Thinker, Pace Gallery, New York, USA, 2017