My Favorite Artist: Yamamoto Takato

I am an indecisive person. I don’t generally use neat categories, since things most often fit into gray areas. It’s usually hard for me to say anything is my #1 or “favorite” of something. However, when I discovered Yamamoto Takato’s work there was a click in my brain and I knew that I had found something that appealed to me so deeply and on so many different levels; so much so that I can confidently say Yamamoto Takato is my favorite artist.

Yamamoto is a Japanese painter who experimented with Ukiyo-e Pop style, ultimately creating his own “Heisei Estheticism”. Ukiyo-e influenced compositions meet with gothic scenes, creating gorgeous and brutally captivating paintings (check out his bio here).

Circle, from the Coffin of a Chimera collection
Salome, from the Divertimento For a Martyr collection

In Yamamoto’s work there are themes that come up again and again- youth and decay, innocence and destruction, darkness and light, horror and fascination. He presents the grotesque and the erotic together.

Distant Window, from the Altar of Narcissus collection

The subjects of Yamamoto’s work are often very confronting, holding you with their arresting gaze. Pain and pleasure, vitality and death, bondage and surrender— these intermingle often.

Bad Habit, from the Allure of Pharmakon collection
Saint Sebastian, from Divertimento For a Martyr collection, also featured in Necrophantasmagoria Vanitas collection.

Vampiric seduction and bloodplay have been a fascination of mine since my early teen years, and this theme is also reoccurring in Yamamoto’s work. My favorites of his pieces involve beautiful vampires feeding on androgynous, glassy-eyed prey.

A poster made of images from Yamamoto’s Nosferatu vampire collection.
Vampire, from the Rib of a Hermaphrodite collection. Also featured in the Nosferatu collection.

The images here are just a very small sampling of Yamamoto’s works. I am in awe of his huge life’s work of hundreds of detailed paintings, many of which are not found online but are included in his art book collections.

My collection of Yamamoto’s signed works are some of my most treasured books. They are produced in gorgeous hardcover with attractive slipcases and textured covers that suit the artwork inside.

I purchased my collection of his art books through http://www.yamamototakato.com/index.html

When I was in Tokyo last December, I got my nails done in a salon for the first time ever. I went to Aki Laccio and he created an amazing Yamamoto-inspired nail art look for me!

3 hours of detailed nail painting by Aki.Laccio

At the beginning of the pandemic, when the Getty Museum challenged people to recreate their favorite artworks using things around the house, I threw together this ode to Yamamoto using some blankets and costume pieces. I don’t think I captured the expression, but nonetheless I had fun doing it!