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Doll-like Japanese Girls

Fashion, Inspiration, Japan, Photography

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Lately I’ve seen a lot of really cute doll-like Japanese girls in magazine spreads and make-up tutorials. The combination of circle lenses and fake eyelashes, pouting lips and long curling wigs is both surreal and beautiful. While some people are critical that these fashions are an attempt not to look “Japanese”, everyone has the right to dress how they like, and I think these girls look fantastic.

Unfortunately I don’t have links for each individual images, but most of these pics should be from Drop Dead Kawaii and Get Into Fashion.

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Psychedelic Cute: HIME+YOU

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Design, Inspiration, Japan

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The style of Japanese illustrator  HIME+YOU is a sweet mixture of bright colors and cute, and slightly darker imagery. While I can see Junko Mizuno’s psychedelic influence, this is work that stands on its own. Absolutely adorable.

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Washed Away: Seascapes by Kozyndan

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Design, Inspiration, Japan, Traditional Japan

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In my previous post I introduced the work of Kozyndan, a talented couple that work together on art and illustration. While that post featured some of their more colorful and humorous work, there’s another, more serious, to these artists. Their recent exhibition Washed Away at Outré Gallery, focused on the themes of the sea and sea-life, as well as Japan’s ama, women divers famous for collecting pearls. Kozyndan were also inspired by Hokusai’s iconic wave, and these works hint at the power and violence of the sea. The result are images that are beautiful, mysterious and poetic. 
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Katsuya Terada: Terra’s Black Marker

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Design, Inspiration, Japan

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Known for his  illustration work for video games and comics, Katsuya Terada’s solo exhibition ‘Terra’s Black Marker’ at Compound Gallery, showed that beyond this, Terada is simply an amazing artist. These are some of the most beautiful pieces of linework that I’ve ever seen. Using only the simple black marker, Terada creates intricate and dynamic images of fantastic beasts and swirling atmosphere.
Absolutely stunning.

Images via Hi Fructose.

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The Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters by Gojin Ishihara

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Design, Inspiration, Japan, Traditional Japan

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Kyūbi no kitsune (nine-tailed fox)

Gojin Ishihara’s Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters (1972), is filled with the spirits and monsters, ogres and imps of traditional Japanese folklore. Of course the more familiar you are with Japanese popular culture, the more you’ll have been exposed to these folk tales indirectly. From fantasy monsters in anime like Naruto and Inuyasha, to contemporary horror like The Ring, this rich cultural heritage can be seen in almost countless examples. I’ve also featured the Kitsune, or fox spirit, in my own work, so images like these are a great source of inspiration. Enjoy.

Images via Pink Tentacle.
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Forests and Fairy Tales: The Work of Amy Sol

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Design, Inspiration, Japan

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The works of Amy Sol conjure up the sweet beauty and magic of childhood. Soft muted colors against the warmth of wood grain give the works the sepia tones of faded storybooks. Her swirly-haired princesses explore forests, filled with flowers, clouds and leaves, animals and dreams.

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Images of War: Meiji Era Ukiyo-e Prints

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Inspiration, Japan, Traditional Japan

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The Meiji Era was a period of intense societal change and rapid modernization. It was also a period of aggressive militarism. Japan was involved in both the first  Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War as Japan, as the country attempted to expand its borders to repel foreign incursion.

Japanese artists were exposed to Western art and photography, and this is evident in stylistic changes within the print medium. The traditional flattened perspective and stylized features of earlier ukiyo-e prints are less evident. The result is strangely reminiscent of American comics, and clearly shows the infancy of contemporary manga.

Images via the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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Candy Overload: The Work of Tatsumi

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Design, Inspiration, Japan

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The work of Japanese artist Tatsumi is enough to cause diabetes. Chocolate, candy, deserts and junk food overwhelm her starry-eyed shoujo heroines in a deluge of sweetness. Are these sugar-saturated schoolgirls a metaphor for Japan’s over-consumption of cute?
Or just that enough is never enough?

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Depth of Field Paintings by Kazuki Takamatsu

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Inspiration, Japan

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Kazuki Takamatsu’s depth of field paintings combine computer imaging with traditional techniques. The result is eerie, empty landscapes are a dreamlike stage for virtual beauties. These anime-styled heroines seem more suited to video games than fine-arts, and come with an assortment of accessories: cute costumes and weaponry. But his figures are like mannequins, simultaneously life-like and lifeless. It’s as if Takamatsu has stripped popular culture of its color, and revealed something surprisingly somber and profound.

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