Someone has captured my inner child and his name is Yoshitomo Nara. Of course, anyone who knows my 7-year-old daughter, Miss Thang, would swear that this is actually her, but since she's becoming more like me every day (poor thing), I'll just say he's captured both of us.
Nara is a Tokyo-based artist whose paintings, drawings and sculptures are heavily influenced by Japanese anime, poetry, graffiti and punk rock. His children and animals start off looking innocent enough, but upon close inspection one notices the wary eyes, tight lips and defensive poses. Some have cigarettes hanging out of their mouths while others will offer up an expletive. Are they up to something evil? Do they represent the darker side in all of us? Are they here to kick our butts? I'm not sure what they mean, but they resonate with me and I find them endearing. Yes, I bet a psychoanalyst would have a field day with that.
Since prices on his artwork fall into the "If-you-have-to-ask-it's-out-of-your-league" category, I will probably never own a piece of my inner child's portrait. However, I did pick up Oh! My God! I Miss You! a boxed set of 30 postcards featuring some of his kids and animals. They're beautifully printed on heavy stock. I love them so much I doubt I'll ever share them with anyone. Instead, I shall hoard them for myself and continue to send out the bargain-priced Hallmark stuff. And if anyone has a problem with that, I will give them this face:
Top: Missing in Action, 1999, acrylic on canvas
Bottom: Pyromaniac, 1999, acrylic and colored pencil on paper