I’m a big fan of the artist, Yoshitomo Nara. He is hugely successful and popular in Japan, being treated like a Pop Star rather than an Artist. This is not the reason why I like his work. It is rather because he has created a world that is unique, special and strong. The characters he portrays may seem vulnerable but on inspection they have their own power that can withhold the (sometimes) corrupting influences of the outside world and grown-ups.
Although familiar with his work in print and on the web, (paintings, drawings, acrylic sculpture and ceramics) I think I have only seen one of his sculptures before when visiting the Japan Society in New York. So I was thrilled to see his works at the Dairy Arts Centre in London recently.
This was a major display of his work that included both large and small paintings, bronze sculptures, envelope drawings and detailed graphite drawings. When viewing his paintings and cartoon-esque drawings, I renewed my familiarity with his world, and reminded myself that I do, indeed respect and admire the strength and consistency of his vision. What really stood out for me though, were his graphite pencil drawings that I saw for the first time. These showed another side to his characters’ personalities, by using such a different mark (a fine graphite line) and working the surface intensively, he really adds something new to his rich output.
Many thanks to those who were instrumental in bringing this exhibition to our shores.
There is more information about Nara on Artsy.net here.