Yoshitomo Nara was born in Japan and studied at the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music. After his graduation in 1987, he continued his studies at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in Germany. Influenced by punk rock, manga and anime, he became best known for his menacing and cartoonish work during Japan’s Pop art movement in the 1990s.
Nara’s Neo-pop style is aesthetically simple yet startlingly intense: his wide eyed children and animals are painted in flat bright colours against plain backgrounds. They could be illustrations from the pages of a children’s book, but wear ferocious expressions and brandish tiny weapons. His fibre-glass sculptures and drawings also share this economical form.
Nara is currently based in Japan and Germany.