• Denholm Hewlett

[Art/Culture] Tadanori Yokoo

A legendary graphic designer, illustrator, painter and printmaker known for his psychedelic pop-art collage posters of the counterculture era. The Master of Japanese Psychedelia.

A revolutionary figure in the history of Japanese art, Tadanori Yokoo is widely regarded as Japan's greatest avant-garde artist alive and working today and is often credited with capturing the iconic psychedelia aesthetic that became so widespread and ubiquitous throughout the late sixties and seventies in USA. His unparalleled body of work has made a long lasting impact on culture, having designed album artwork and poster designs for The Beatles, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana and Haruomi Hosono.

Tadanori Yokoo’s dynamic screen printed posters are immensely stylised idiosyncratic combinations of photography, painting, collage and illustration - blending elements of contemporary Japanese culture with surrealism, eroticism, dadaism, mysticism, American pop culture, Russian constructivism and the traditional Japanese woodblock prints, Ukiyo-e.

His early posters are an explosive fusion of the traditional and futuristic, which helped bring a new cultural vision for post-war Japan, garnering him international acclaim and controversy as a designer in Tokyo’s Avant Garde & Experimental art scenes. Yokoo pushed the boundaries of creative expression and managed to revolutionise the concept of the advertising poster forever, conveying deeply personal, socio political artistic statements - and bridging the divide between fine art and commercial work. Yokoo currently lives in Tokyo and has been working primarily as a painter since the 1980s, and has continued to hold solo exhibitions every year in Japan and abroad.

Check out a scrolling gallery of Tadanori Yokoo's work below ~

Among his influences, Yokoo has credited the cinema of Akira Kurosawa and the writings of Yukio Mishima as two of his major formative influences. Yokoo has also collaborated extensively with new wave Japanese director Shuji Terayama and his theatre Tenjo Sajiki. He starred as the protagonist in Nagisa Oshima's film "Diary of a Shinjuku Thief" (1968) Yokoo also made a series of short experimental 16mm animated films during the sixties, including "KISS KISS KISS" (1964) & Kachi Kachi Yama (1965).

We recommend picking up a copy of his recent art book “The complete Posters of Tadanori Yokoo”.

- Psychic Garden

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