Hikari SHIMODA, the unusual contemporary artist
If you’re a fan of contemporary japanese artists who break the mold of traditional artwork, you need to know about Hikari SHIMODA. Despite the current healthcare situation, this artist has kept her autumn exposition at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles from July 11 to August 15. To commemorate this event, Journal du Japon has decided to commemorate this unusual artist.
Original papier by Charlene Hugonin Posted on September 22, in French, here.
Hikari Shimoda, an artist with an acid and colorful style.
Today our team invites you to discover an artist that stands out when it comes to her background and perspective. As well as traditional artwork there are some Japanese artists who go against the flow with their unique work, just like Takeshi MURAKAMI. Nonetheless, Hikari Shimoda has shocked the public with her new projects, she recently held a new exhibition and her artwork, available for purchase online (with international shipping), and it’s truly a hidden treasure.
Shimoda is originally from the city of Nagano, her love for art led her to study in the prestigious Kyoto Saga University of Art before finishing her studies at the Aoyama Juku School… quite a classic approach for an artist who is not classic at all ! She started her career on contemporary art in 2008 and her first exposition was so successful that, a couple months later, she was showcased at the Motto Gallery of Tokyo, where her career took off. Suddenly, many doors opens, and she began to hold exhibitions worldwide, in the US, Canada and even Europe. Her inspiration is clear : the Japanese anime and manga which she adored throughout her childhood. She has always been interested in drawing children as they appear in the world of manga, with stars in their eyes and a color palette so diverse that makes them extremely expressive. However, she didn’t stop at just one technique…always an ‘over achiever’, she learned how to work with acrylic paint, pastel and even gouache in her paintings.
The images of children that she loves to draw are the representation of superheroes and magical girls that are so popular nowadays, a shift from what our society represents and through their eyes, the best possible version. A magical girl (which is a sub-genre from anime) can reveal the evil in society, while a superhero represents the idea of being an adult and protect the world built by our elders. Clearly, SHIMODA is a complex artist who wants others to open their eyes through her art and multiple colorful characters.
An exhibition in line with the times.
If Journal de Japon dedicates an entry to this artist, it’s because her work is deeply rooted in our daily experiences. From the start, 2020 has been an exceptional year as well as a stressful one for all of us; Hikari Shimoda is the contemporary Japanese artist that captures the emotional state of the present. Her characters, color choices and manga-like style do not lack realism, instead they force us to confront our present.
The character’s expressions are harrowing and reflect the double meaning within the exhibition’s title “Silence and Affirmation”. Even though it ended with the US exhibition this autumn you can still appreciate it through the official access of the Corey Helford Gallery Through that site we can appreciate the last paintings where the artist mixes both horror and cuteness in order to portray our society and let our imagination do the rest. Everyone can come up with their own interpretation of the pieces but what’s for sure it’s the portrayal of a connection between the past and the future. As a result, Hikari Shimoda has created a special piece for the occasion, which was exhibited for the first time this autumn, the painting was named “Portrait of a Modern Person Wearing a Mask”. Another way to depict the present and the strains it has brought to our lives.
This gallery has given the artist the opportunity to promote her artwork even with a Japanese audience and to invite her fellow Japanese artists to promote their own projects internationally.
For the young woman, the main goal is to affirm her existence which she explains clearly in the following quote:
« 2020 is unforgettable, it has been a year of turmoil for our world. I focused my energy on creating art for this exhibition after I took a year off. At the time, I began to reconsider my own existence and I continue to reflect about the ways of life humans should follow. Therefore, I have discovered the power of saying “yes”, of affirmation. I pray for a world where we, as human beings, are no longer judged by our physical attributes and we can affirm ourselves just the way we are. There is a whole new world in the title of the exhibition “silence” I chose that word in order to convey the idea of the indestructible soul.
No one can overpower or take over someone else’s heart. From silence to affirmation, these artworks are a representation of my beliefs: respect each other’s souls and affirm our existence without judgement. It’s a message to the world that comes from the bottom of my heart. »
Her artwork, simply titled “HIKARY SHIMODA ART WORKS”, perfectly represents the artist’s perspective: we took the time to appreciate many paintings from the exhibition at Los Angles (which were sold in their totality afterwards) and understood her purpose as well. The children’s starry eyes as well as the colorful palette selected for their backgrounds counterbalance their sometimes sad or bitter expressions. That contrast is also perceived in the text that’s sometimes hidden in the character’s t-shirts (like the word ‘happy’) or their surroundings, through these elements we learn that even in a grim and oppressing reality there is always hope.
The whole effect is achieved by the concepts of magical girl, superheroes, and the Japanese universe from mangas and anime; for example, we see a rabbit girl whose image leans a little more towards the creepier side in the style that only the Japanese know how to do achieve, while she wears a kawaii fashion outfit in a similar style to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
In general, it is a beautiful book sold at 3000 yen which portrays the artist’s work through big illustrated pages and a glossy paper that is nice to the touch.
The team believes that Hikari Shimoda is an artist that deserves more recognition, through an atypical approach she’s able to maintain the japanese vibe in her approach to art. Her unusual artistic talent captures our attention effortlessly and allows the audience to reflect… we cannot help but to feel compelled by the illustrations that are particularly sad. An exposition that is a joy to discover and artwork that keeps delivering as you turn the pages. To every fan of contemporary art, Hikari Shimoda is an artist that deserves all the hype!