Hikari Shimoda is a professional contemporary artist from Nagano, Japan. She studied illustration at the prestigious Kyoto Saga University of Art and Aoyama Juku School and soon after was selected for her first solo exhibition at the Motto Gallery in Tokyo. Sparkling and sweet, Hikari’s work is at once enchanting and disarming, portraying a world where cuteness and horror coexist. Inspired by the Japanese manga and anime from her youth, her work expresses modern day issues in colorful and illustrative techniques. Often depicting starry-eyed children, she dresses her characters in heroic costumes resembling Superman and magical girls, revealing problems and struggles in contemporary society through a juxtaposition of brushwork, text and collage. Her characters are a commentary on Christianity’s anointment of Jesus Christ as a savior of humanity and a mirror of our fantasy heroes. They also represent our adult desire to nurture the children of the world and to defend the world we have constructed. In her portrait series “Whereabouts of God” and “Children of this Planet”, following the Great East Japan Earthquake and accident on the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, other-worldly children are adorned with a Chernobyl necklace or act as a blank canvas for what she describes as countless possibilities in a world that is yet to be reborn.
In her own words:
They are “anyone” who just exists. So, they could also exist beyond the realm of being children, and identify with anyone who might appreciate them. Those children who are wearing a vacant expression of despair and solitude are mirroring the emotions of the people who look at them. Those vacant children are, so to speak, “cups of my emotions” – something which I could pour my emotion into. Their sparkling eyes are staring into space, while reflecting both light and darkness, and those horns are a metaphor of wordless emotions like fury and despair that people feel towards unreasonable things in this world.
Hikari Shimoda has held exhibitions in galleries worldwide, including Japan, the United States, Canada and Europe. Her next show will be held at the Corey Helford Gallery in LA, opening on January 21st.
This is a sample of her work
All images © Hikari Shimoda
You can watch an in-depth interview with Hikari Shimoda here.