Gummi Girl, 2006
Influenced by elements of popular culture such as anime, manga, Walt Disney cartoons, and punk rock, Yoshitomo Nara creates paintings, sculptures, and drawings of adorable-yet-sinister childlike characters. Painted with simple bold lines, primary colors, and set against empty backgrounds, these small children and animals often share the canvas with text, knives, plants, and cardboard boxes, among other recurring elements. As one of the fathers and central figures of the Japanese neo-Pop movement, Nara’s work expresses the struggle to find an identity fractured by war, rapid modernization, and an omnipresent visual culture. Nara’s sculptures, made primarily from fiberglass, and his drawings on postcards, envelopes, and scraps of paper, further this exploration using the same elegance of line and simple palette as his paintings.