Hikari Shimoda‘s creepy paintings of children depict them as sweet, sinister, wounded and abused. As Shimoda explains in her artist’s statement, “They are nobody, and yet, they could be somebody.” The Sinister and Mysterious Childhood Depictions of Hikari Shimoda are the focal point of this episodes’ Creative Spotlight. I sit down with her and discuss a variety of topics. Read below for the full write-up…
Could you describe your creative process a bit? How do you decide which color their hair will be or how to paint the pupils of the characters eyes?
Hikari: The method varies depending on time. In particular, how to draw eyes is noticeable. The expression of a character, often to express the theme. Themes will be updated every year. I want the look [to] depict the most suitable time to time subject. For hair color, which I look at the color balance of the picture, usually are free to paint my favorite color. Painting are always free.
You paint delicate yet disturbing compositions of eerie children. Are there any connections with these portraits and influences of your own childhood?
Hikari: There are opportunities [of this] in my childhood memories, [but are not all. When as a child, I certainly felt lonely. That sense of isolation, lead to the modern concept which I felt. And now, in addition to the sense of isolation, trying to draw the contents reflect more social problems. The anxiety and fear of the world, I appear to draw children.
You said you have a hard time building relationships with others. Are these the same personality traits that help fuel your own creativity in your art?
Hikari: I can not build up a good relationship, and I’ve been watching the world overview. Words alone can not be expressed about the world, but can now be expressed in art. Also, I connected with art and society.
You recently had a solo exhibit at the Hellion Gallery. Could you tell us a bit about it and is there added pressure knowing it is a solo exhibit?
Hikari: Of course, I feel the pressure, however, it will be good motivation for creating good works and a good exhibit.
How would you describe your paintings as a metaphor for societies problems? Political struggles? Economic crisis? Discrimination?
Hikari: I do my paintings, which depicts the real-world conditions. I feel that the state of the world, I have warned them to draw.
Many of your children have animal masks or accessories, such as rabbit ears, on their heads. What is the symbolism behind that?
Hikari: First, I drew a picture with the bunny ears. The reason is that the rabbit will die of loneliness, because it is said in Japan. And continue to work, continuing to draw, it is now my character. Also today, People wearing masks are alive, people are playing a different role, [which]depicts such a metaphor.
Are you a fan of Asian films or Anime? Have any favorites you could share with us?
Hikari: Of course! I love Ghibli anime from a young age. In particular, I like Nausicaa. I read it many times. I have great respect for Hayao Miyazaki’s world view and philosophy. I also love the film Shinji Soumai. The famous ” Sailor Suit and Machine Gun” film, I love “お引越し( ohikkoshi… house‐moving)” film. He is a very good representation of children, and the beauty of video production is also very attractive.
Looking upon your paintings, the intension is letting people contemplate to themselves, about their own lives. Were you a child prodigy in painting? or did this talent devlopment late into your adolescence.
Hikari: I have loved Painting since I was little, but I wasn’t good. Leave the complex-laden, and I graduated from college. I wanted to work [towards] a non-painting career, However, I would have to dispel the feeling of my complex. I worked on painting seriously, because after the age of 20, I found it very seriously that a complex is to become a strong power. Power to change yourself. It is the most important thing.
Lastly any advice you can give to a young artist who is trying to better communicate through their artwork?
Hikari: Painting is not ” What to draw”, or ” How to draw”. Painting is ” How to do what you are doing”. I think it is important for drawing purposes. It may be the story of life. Crucially, it is important to continue.
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