The Ridiculous And The Sublime: The Surreal Art of Naoto Hattori

Naoto Hattori was born in 1975 in Yokohama, Japan. Raised as a child in the Japanese traditional arts and culture, he plunged into modern pop culture as a teenager, becoming enthralled in board sports  like surfing and skateboarding, street art and graffiti. He studied graphic design in Tokyo, before moving to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts in 2000. He currently lives and works in New York City.

A mass of influences, especially early surrealist legends Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Hieronymus Bosch and Salvador Dali, Hattori’s work show an astonishing range, from sublime portraits of robotic-like women to bizarre landscapes populated by creatures straight out of a nightmare. His Japanese influences are evident in his penchant for kawaii (Japanese for cute) sensibilities.

Inspired by Buddhist philosophy and proverbs, Hattori’s works often deal with the inner workings of the mind and eyes and heads (both human and animal) are the focal point. The chaos that often runs rampant inside a creative brain is visualized as geometric shapes and biomorphic masses.

Not surprisingly, Hattori has this to say about his singular art and vision: “My vision is like a dream, whether it’s a sweet dream, a nightmare, or just a trippy dream. I try to see what’s really going on in my mind, and that’s a practice to increase my awareness in stream-of-consciousness creativity. I try not to label or think about what something is supposed to be, I just take it in as it is and paint whatever I see in my mind with no compromise. That way, I create my own vision.”

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the dark yet inspired dreamscapes of Naoto Hattori.

Check out Naoto Hattori’s website to see a full range of his astonishing work.

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About Stephen Kelly Creative

Hi, I'm Stephen Kelly, a writer, editor, photographer and graphic designer living in beautiful San Francisco, CA, USA. Amongst the things I love are writing, photography, movies, music, fitness, travel, Batman, all things Australian, food and fun, all of which I hope to reflect in this here blog. Welcome aboard ... now let's get busy!
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26 Responses to The Ridiculous And The Sublime: The Surreal Art of Naoto Hattori

  1. So much here seems so disembodied, even when there are “bodies” there! The overwhelming focus on heads and busts, for example, far outstrips the full-size figures.

    • HI Victoria … I love his perspective, the point of view he pushes the viewer into seeing. i’m thinking that his preoccupation with the workings of the inner mind is responsible for the focus heads and busts. perhaps the disembodiment of his work is a statement on how impersonal life in these modern times can be. really, really interesting stuff!

  2. petit4chocolatier says:

    Stephen, I have never seen his art before! I am so blown away of how each piece is something so different and astonishing! I did pick many favorites!!

    I hope you don’t mind that I reblog your link on my reblog page?

    • Hi Judy … by all means!!! I’m all about sharing amazing art, and this stuff certainly fits that bill. I personally find his work mesmerizing; like you, I have many favorites. Glad you like this very cool art!

  3. ideflex says:

    Once again, you are providing me with a “new” artist to follow – fantabulous stuff!

  4. kalabalu says:

    The expression in eyes and the closed eyes , have an altogether mystic effect..of looking or blinding ..very strong expressions.

  5. Another fascinating artist you’ve featured here, Stephen. Amazing and bizarre, and actually quite beautiful in many cases. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Once more…… amazing!!!!

  7. Pat Bailey says:

    This is scary. My first thought was that I am very glad that I don’t have to live with his mind – that some very weird stuff goes on in there. Then I began to identify with pictures – and thinking – Yes, that’s me. By allowing himself to be aware of what is happening in his mind, he is capturing our shared human experiences – plus adding a few of his own unique ones. Thanks for another good post.

    • Hi there Pat. It makes me really happy to read your thought processes abut how you came to identify with some of Hattori’s work. I really like he explores the mind and the subconscious to find the themes of his work. A lot of it looks like the stuff of really weird dreams, and I’m not ready to wake up yet. Glad you found his work as intriguing as I do!

  8. ilargia64 says:

    Hi Stephen!!!! Wow..Incredible! It is true: Surrealism´s influence is there..For instance: to me, it is easy to see Dali on “Meet the Knowledge”…Even Magritte on “Mind Creating”..
    I think his women are beautiful…I like very much “Sentimental”..
    Thanks for sharing…Again!
    Have a nice weekend!

    • Hi Ilargia! Exactly … he learned and is influenced by the best of the surrealist masters. ‘Soul Streaming’ pays a huge debt of influence to Dali as well. Google Giuseppe Arcimboldo … Hattori is really influenced by that famous 15th century surrealist.

  9. Paula says:

    Was it a good idea for me to look at these dreamscapes just before going to sleep? ;) Thank you for showing us his works :O

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