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Tattoo Flash: Drawings by Ciou

Art, Inspiration, Japan

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Ciou‘s spiky-lined ink drawings seem perfect for tattoo flash. Girls with over-sized eyes and serpentine hair are paired with Disney animals on crack. Ciou combines these sweet/scary characters with Dios De Los Muertos inspired symbolism; flowers with coffins for petals, an upside-down cross on a party hat, and fingers grow into the branches of a tree.

Expect to see another post dedicated to color works by this talented artist.

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Bubblegum Tokyo: The Work of Karasumaru Yumi

Art, Inspiration, Japan

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Karasumaru Yumi‘s work combines images of Japan’s past and present. The recurring image of the atomic bomb collides against images of the fashion-conscious youths of Harajuku. And yet Karasumaru’s distinctive candy-coloured palette seems to somehow reduce these images to the same thing; yet another image in a media saturated culture. Indeed Japanese popular culture is saturated by references to the bomb in everything from anime like Akira, to Godzilla movies.

As the generation that experienced the war is dying off, so Japan’s influential history is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to imagine. And yet the photographic image represents history, something as real as the images of contemporary Tokyo. It is this contradiction which lies at the heart of Karasumaru’s work.

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Doll Portraits: The Work of Emma Mount

Art, Design, Inspiration, Japan

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Annie: The SweetheartBlythe White
Riiko: The VivaciousValentine: The Celestine

Emma Mount‘s portraits of Blythe and Pullip dolls, walk the line between cute and scary. With bobble heads and big eyes, these dolls are definitely a matter of love or hate. Although plenty of enthusiasts have come to love their exaggerated proportions and quirky expressions.

A large part of these dolls’ appeal is their almost infinite customizability. Creator go to extraordinary lengths; re-rooting the hair, re-painting the lips, replacing the eyechips, repainting the skin, and sand-matting or spray finish matting the faces. The result are dolls that are truly unique, and serve as a form of self-expression for their owners. In this way Emma Mount’s works are not only a portrait of the dolls themselves, but a reflection of their creators.

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Sweet Skits by Naoshi

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Inspiration, Japan

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The works of Naoshi are like one-scene skits; surreal plays with a deadpan cast of anthropomorphized animals, foods and everyday objects. Naoshi’s distinctive visual style is based on a large part on his use of sunae, shiny and colorful sand which gives his works their bright color palette and soft texture. Naoshi uses sunae to create a beautiful and sparkling world, filled with surreal characters living their everyday lives. Enjoy.
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Daicon IV Opening Animation

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

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I was blown away when I recently watched the Daicon IV Opening Animation.  Somehow I’d manage to miss this crucial piece of otaku history.

The Daicon III  and IV animations were amateur works done for the 1981 and 1983 Nihon SF Taikai conventions. This group of amateur animators would go on to form Gainax, and the Daicon animations show the genesis of imagery that would be repeated in projects like Evangelion and FLCL.

As an animation it’s a testament to the beauty and visual power of traditional  cel animation. There’s something timeless about these videos, and incredibly after almost thirty years they can still compete with some of the best animation being produced today. Unfortunately these works have never been officially released, and never will be, so watch it now.

Pics via Daicon and Daicon III and IV Opening Animations.

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Chaotic Cute: The Work of Chikuwaemil

Art, Comics, Anime & Manga, Inspiration, Japan

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The work of Chikuwaemil is an explosion of color; a hypnotic and chaotic mess of cute girls, scribbled cats and miscellaneous doodles. It’s a mix of raw energy and naïve imagery, in sweet candy colors. It also features a lot of the teal-haired idol, Hatsune Miku, being drawn in Chikuwaemil’s distinctive style. Enjoy.

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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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Classical Lolita: Victorian Maiden

Fashion, Inspiration

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Taken from the 2006 Victorian Maiden Spring and Summer Collection, these simple and relaxed co-ordinates shows the elegance and beauty of Classical Lolita. While I love the more elaborate Lolita fashions, these images are a breath of fresh air, and the rustic-romantic look seem to anticipate the mori girl style. Enjoy.

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Sirens: The Work of Stella Im Hultberg

Art, Inspiration

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Sweet Medusas, seductive Rapunzels and long-locked sirens are the subject of Stella Im Hultberg‘s work. Her paintings and drawings are obsessions with a particular type of feminine beauty; long dark hair, slanted eyes and pouting lips. Whether you associate this image with temptresses from the sea or closeted princesses, is as much about your own ideas of femininity, as her creations themselves. Haunting, beautiful, and enigmatic, they defy easy analysis. And yet it is this mystery that makes them so alluring.         Read more…