Yoshitomo Nara Japan, b. 1959


"I needed a setting which would allow me to isolate myself from others to have a real conversation with the inner-me, in my case. I found my style only after living in solitude" - Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara is one of the most influential artists to emerge from Japan's Pop art movement in the 1990s. Drawing inspiration from the anime and manga characters that he was exposed to during his childhood, Nara creates characters, usually small children, who possess similar cartoonish qualities, with highly stylized features and especially large eyes. However, Nara's illustrations of children, who are often brandishing weapons, are often more menacing and devilish than they are cute and innocent.

Deceptive upon first view, Nara's work surrounds broader social and cultural topics, such as violence and the rigidity of social structures in Japan. Though he works mainly in painting and drawing, he also experiments in sculpture and installations.


A versatile output, the artist's work explores themes of isolation, rebellion, and spirituality through printmaking, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and installations. "Because of the imagery that I usually work with in my paintings, imagery that some people misinterpret as being manga-like, not a lot of people would see this spiritual side of my work," the artist said. "The fact is I have never once said that I've been influenced by Japanese manga. For a very long time I have created my art from a spiritual point of view. It is filled with religious and philosophical considerations."



Since his first solo exhibition at Blum and Poe Gallery in 1984, Nara has had nearly 40 solo exhibitions worldwide, from Iceland to Japan to France to the United States.

Available Works