Yoshitomo Nara b. 1959


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Yoshitomo Nara is a Japanese Pop Artist known for his cartoon paintings and sculptures inspired from his childhood. Nara received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music in 1985 and 1987, respectively. He studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany from 1988 to 1993. His work first became popular with the Japanese Neo Pop Art movement of the 1990s.


As the son of busy working-class parents, Nara was often left alone to explore his imagination and read comic books. He draws inspiration from popular Japanese Manga and Anime that he enjoyed as a child in the 1960s. He was also interested in post-WWII Western pop culture, including music and animation. His figures are confident, witty and usually armed with humorous objects accompanied by striking punch lines. The large-eyed, childish characters are portrayed as cute and innocent, but they are often fused with a rebellious nature that can appear evil.


Nara has been given more than 40 solo-exhibitions since his first one man show in 1984. In June of 2015, Nara's work "Yr. Childhood" achieved a new auction record at $2.5 million. His work is featured in various permanent collections worldwide including the San Francisco MoMA, the MCA Los Angeles, the MCA Chicago, the MoMA, the LACMA, the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga in Spain and the Neues Museum für Kunst und Design in Germany.


Related Categories: Japan, Childhood, Contemporary Faux Naïf, Contemporary Pop, Popular Culture, Cultural Commentary, Drawing, Related to Literature, Comic/Cartoon, Sculpture.