Born in 1959 in Hirosaki, Japan, Yoshitomo Nara is one of the most influential artists to emerge from Japan during the Pop art movement of the nineties. Yoshitomo Nara's paintings and sculpture of stylized cartoon children and animals evoke a range of memories from childhood, "both sad and fantastic." Since his initial U.S. solo exhibition at Blum & Poe Gallery he has had one-man shows at the Institut fur Moderne Kunst Nurnberg, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Yokohama Museum of Art. His work was recently included in "Super Flat" at the MOCA Gallery at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood and at PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York.
Yoshitomo Nara's work is influenced by Japanese comic books (manga) but he is unique in the contemporary art scene here for bedeviling his typically cute and vulnerable figures with a horror like image. Nara's tapping into horror through the medium of the innocent child is particularly poignant in Japan's controlled society of rigid language and social structures, especially considering recent shockingly violent crimes in Japan involving children as the aggressors. Nara's work really instills the viewer with a juxtaposition of the innocence of children and the evil nature of humanity, or the fall from grace. Nara is also a Pop artist, representing works from his generations youth, and mass producing them for your home.