HIKARI SHIMODA

Lives and works in Nagano, Japan.

Sparkling and sweet, Hikari Shimoda’s work is at once enchanting and disarming, portraying a world where cuteness and horror coexist. Based in Nagano, Japan, Shimoda first studied illustration at the prestigious Kyoto Saga University of Art and Aoyama Juku School before beginning her career as a contemporary artist in 2008. Soon after, Shimoda was selected for her first solo exhibition at Motto Gallery in Tokyo and has since held exhibitions in galleries worldwide, including Japan, the United States, Canada, and Italy.

Growing up with Japanese animation comics; anime, manga and other Japanese pop culture feed into the works of Shimoda, enabling cuteness and pop subjects to become a common language that represents the seriousness of today’s world. Through detailed drawings and immaculate paintwork, Shimoda’s starry-eyed portraits are often depicted in heroic costumes such as Superman and “shojo” or magical girls – an anime sub-genre of young girls who uses magic, revealing problems and struggles in contemporary society through a juxtaposition of text, brushstrokes, splatters and collage. For Shimoda, not only do eyes speak of the characters’ personality, they are also a reflection of the creator’s own feelings and ideas. The anonymous children in the works of Shimoda act as a blank canvas for countless possibilities, where fantasy meets with reality; past meets future; life meets death; and a world that is yet to be reborn.

“After the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which affected people internationally, I became interested in these connections in the world. I express this through such themes as hope and despair; life and death; light and dark; reality and fantasy.” – Hikari Shimoda

In Shimoda’s “Whereabouts of God” portrait series of other-worldly horned children, the Artist comments on Christianity’s anointment of Jesus Christ as a saviour of humanity, and a mirror of our fantasy heroes. These characters not only represent heroism but an adult desire to nurture the children of the world and to defend the world we have constructed. With each new piece, Shimoda advances her search for salvation and her deeper understanding of this chaotic world.