Takato Yamamoto and savagery

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Takato Yamamoto (1960), illustrator.

After graduating from the painting department of the Tokyo Zokei University, he experimented with the Ukiyo-e Pop style. He further refined and developed that style to create his “Heisei Esthiticism” style. His first exhibition was held in Tokyo, in 1998.

For a start the drawing style is a great amalgam of influences from Beardsley through to Harry Clarke by way of the finest Edwardian pornographer, Franz von Bayros. Then there’s the curious details of severed heads, claws, sundry bones and eyeballs which decorate the otherwise florid arrangements supporting the figures.

Relatively unknown outside of Japan, there is a brilliance to his highly detailed illustrations that combine tight line work with moments of ukiyo-e, eroticism, bondage, ghostly images, and Bellmer-esque surrealism. Dark, with emotionless, stoic faces, the characters beautiful colors seem helpless, almost soft and doll-like in their positions. With a few books already under his wing, Takato is prolific with a fantastic imagination, advancing the dynamics of his stylistic approach. For a fan of this genre, of illustrative embellishment, the work is amazing.

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