Inspiring Japanese Artists & Designers (Part 1)

I love Japanese art & design. The use of colour, the themes, the wit, playfulness and the style of illustration appeals to me immensely. One day I plan to visit Japan for pure inspiration. Until then, I'll be posting articles of some of my favourite artists. I am merely scratching the surface, highlighting points of interest to me. 


Tadanori Yokoo

Poster for the book "The Wonders of Life on Earth," 1965

I first saw Tadanori Yokoo's work at MoMA in New York a few years ago and was captivated by the collage effect, pop art style, themes of mass consumption, spirituality, rationality, surrealism and vibrant colour. But mostly just the visual coolness of the posters.

Mr Yokoo began his career as a stage designer for avant garde theatre in Tokyo in 1960 and has since constantly evolved as an artist alternating between different mediums (graphic design, illustration, print-making and painting). He incorporated photography in his designs and used computers. He believes a designer should reject any ideas of commercialism when working, and instead “explore his own themes, his own life, his own thoughts.''

Sigh, maybe one day. 

View some of his dazzling pieces on my pinterest board.


Shigeo Fukuda

Victory 1945 (above) is one of  Shigeo Fukuda's most famous posters. It won the grand prize at the Warsaw Poster Contest in 1975, a competition whose proceeds helped fund the Peace Fund Movement. Mr Fukada's subject matter often tackled environmental and political issues. His style, influenced by Swiss Design, is starkly minimal, hard-hitting and striking.

Born into a family of toy manufacturers, Mr Fukada loved to incorporate the absurd into his pieces and inject humour into his work. Many of his works incorporated visual trickery and this playfulness was reflected in his own life. Apparently, to reach the front door of his house, a visitor had to walk down a path to a door that appeared to be far away. Appearances were deceiving because the front door was only four feet high. Inside, Mr. Fukuda would emerge from a concealed white door exactly the same color as the wall to offer the visitor a pair of red house slippers.

See more of his work on my pinterest board.


Yayoi Kusama

Infinity Mirror Room-Phalli’s Field (or Floor Show) 1965

''A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement ... Polka dots are a way to infinity'' - Yayoi Kusama

Around the age of ten, Ms Kusama started using polka dots in her drawings which became a lifelong obsession. Her 1965 installation Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field was the first to combine the polka dots and mirrors that would later become her trademark motifs. 

In 2012 she collaborated with Marc Jacobs, the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton to create a dotty (of course), bold and playful fashion range.

The paparazzi nicknamed Ms Kusama the Polka Dot Princess in the 1960s when she lived in New York City. At that time, she rivalled Andy Warhol for press attention. At the age of 86, she is the most popular artist in the world (according to The Guardian)

View some of her work on my pinterest board.


I hope these inspire and encourage furthering reading on these interesting people. I have ordered this book on Tadanori Yokoo. I'll scan some works and add to pinterest.