Japanese artist Hikari Shimoda is known for her beguiling portraits. Her pastel colours and irasuto style disarm you right before they leave you a feeling disconcerted. Lying just under their cute facade, you find Shimoda’s solitary starry-eyed children are a personification of modern society’s struggles.
Born and based in the breathtaking rural area of Nagano prefecture, Japan. Shimoda has said is ‘like a place in a Ghibli movie.’ Entwined with her work, Nagano’s loneliness feeds an important theme of her paintings. Growing up, she was inspired by Japanese pop culture, anime and manga. She studied at Kyoto Saga University of Art and Aoyama Juku School before propelling herself in the contemporary fine art world. In 2008, Shimoda was selected for her first solo exhibition at Motto Gallery in Tokyo. She has since held exhibitions annually in galleries worldwide, crossing Japan, the United States, Canada, and Italy.
Shimoda has said children represent both a simple and ambiguous existence. Giving her a vessel to explore subjects which are both introspective and extrospective. The characters in her painting are not living in our world; Some live in a future world, some in a sort of vortex, and some exist in the artist’s own mind. Shimoda doesn’t think of her character as being alive, instead considered them as having more of a spiritual presence. Shimoda’s personal pieces compel complex interpretations and allow the viewer to find something that resonates with them.
You can see more of Hikari Shimoda’s work on her website, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can also learn more about her in this video interview presented by Sweet Streets and interview with Hi-Fructose Magzine.