Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959, Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan) graduated from Aichi University of the Arts with a master’s degree in 1987, completing further studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He resided in Cologne until 2000, when he returned to Japan. Since the mid-1990s, Nara has exhibited around the world and has worked with a range of institutions, from small independent art spaces to internationally renowned galleries and museums.
For Nara, the type of institution or the size of a space matters less than how connected he feels with its environment. His approach to art is also similarly dependent on his sense of connection with its making. His paintings are expressions of color that breathe life into his bold images, his sculptures bear traces of his fingers that have shaped their forms, and his drawings capture the spontaneity of his daily thoughts. Nara has also exhibited his photographic works, which depict his life and travels.
A Contemporary artist best known for his Neo-Pop paintings featuring the innocent motifs and buoyant style of children’s books and comics. Nara’s most frequent subjects are wide-eyed, cartoonish children and animals, executed in a flattened, economical style. Often, snippets of Japanese, English, or German text float within the compositions. Nara is also a prolific sculptor and draughtsman. He has had solo exhibitions at Blum & Poe in Santa Monica, CA; Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL; Pace Prints in New York, NY; the Asia Society Museum in New York, NY; and many other institutions. Nara currently lives and works in Japan and Germany, and is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York, and by Blum & Poe in Los Angeles.