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!

Geek Style (?) Snapshots

Last night I saw an Instagrammer’s art depicting how her style has changed throughout the years. I loved the idea, so I made one of my own:

IMG_20180630_151454_193

Throughout the years, my “style” wandered from what Mom dressed me in, to a sort of rebellious “who cares what is on your body” phase, to a memorable teenage spell of (mostly) manufactured darkness and woe. I didn’t usually spend money on clothes, but if I did I would just buy whatever was cheap, or shirts that featured a character or series I was fond of.

It was only after I graduated High School that I started working in jobs that I cared about, and began dabbling with purposeful, intentional style choices.

That’s not to say that I am well versed in the means and vocabulary of fashion- far from it. I often don’t know if an outfit would work well with tights or not, and I only recently began collecting useful pieces like slips, strapless bras, and hair mousse. I’m 28 and I still haven’t mastered the smokey eye, or tried fake nails.

What I’ve learned though, is that clothes and accessories are just another hobby, another means of expression, and another tool in your toolkit.

The first person who made me excited about playing with style was YouTuber BubzBeauty.

bubz

^ via http://www.bubzbeauty.com/

Lindy, or Bubz as she is known online, has been vlogging for years, and in my late teens I began watching her videos. I don’t remember how I found her- probably trying to learn how to braid my hair or something- but I began to enjoy her videos as they came out, learning new tips and tricks for clothes, hair, and makeup.

What I especially love about Bubz is that she shares not only style advice, but also messages of positivity and self-care. She is a genuinely kind and funny person who helped me learn some basics of style and makeup, and begin to build up my self-confidence.

Bubz got married a few years before I did, and I even referred to her wedding videos when planning our wedding.

Now she and Tim have two adorable kids- i’m sure if I have a baby someday I will turn to Bubz’ videos for help!

Another style inspiration of mine is Kim Kibum, SHINee’s Key.

Key’s playfulness and individuality with style is so fun, and really taught me that style is for YOU; it’s not for anybody else (unless you want it to be!). Key occasionally wears statement pieces that are not my style, but the confidence that he rocks them in makes it clear that he is owning the clothes and not the other way around.

Whether it’s graphic pins, bold socks, neutrals, patterns, whatever- Key dresses to impress. He has nudged me into looking at clothes and fashion in a new light- as something fun to explore rather than a world that I fail in and know nothing about.