Five Artists Who Inspire Me Part 1: Yuko Higuchi

Hello lovely people,

To ease myself back into Blog writing after such a long break (more on that later), I'm starting off with with something I'd planned back in 2020 until things went south...

But now I'm nearly out of that particular black hole, what better way to feel rejuvenated after a long break?

Sharing with you Five Artists Who Inspire Me! Of course, there's so many wonderful artists and illustrators out there whose work I love.

While I won't cover these folks individually, some notable mentions are Arthur Rackham, Francisco Goya, Sin Eater, Mark Ryden, Albrecht Durer, Ralph Steadman and Stephen Gammell.

But for now, here's the first of a series of short posts about artists whose work resonates with me and inspire me to create when I'm feeling a little lost.

First up is Yuko Higuchi.

Yuko Higuchi 

I only discovered Yuko's work about 5 years ago, and must must have searched for "Mushrooms and Cats", or something akin to that (two of my favourite things if you hadn't figured out that ;p)

I immediately set out on a quest to get one of her beloved books into my collection, as well as find out as much as I could about her as a person.

Yuko is somewhat of an enigma for me.

What I do know about her is that she spends almost every moment of her waking life drawing, and has been drawing since she was a child.

It's hardly surprising though. Just look at that work!

Full of glorious detail, and beautifully bizarre renderings. You can see a timelapse of her process in the video below.

Her work has now been transformed into a whole host of merchandise, from stickers and wallpaper to pencil cases and clothing.

Would I call her work "kawaii" (cute)?

Indeed some of it is, yet those surreal twists balance out what might otherwise be viewed as classical children's illustration (which also reminds me of an another artist I love and who I'll save for another time…).

Yuko's work certainly is playful. But even though she has in fact designed for Gucci's children's collection, I see it as encompassing the childlike but not really for children. 

Perhaps because they remind me of those rather controversial, but still incredible, images of kittens by photographer, Harry Whittier Frees. I wonder if some of Yuko's inspiration came from his work.

Something I feel drawn to in art is the juxtaposition of the impossible, bizarre or macabre happening alongside what we might normally associate with childhood. 

This is probably a reason why I'm a big fan of the concept and artwork in the Indie Game, Fran Bow, and enjoy the work of often-imitated Mark Ryden.

What else do I find inspiring about her creations? 

I love how the surrealism and fantastical elements whisk me away to somewhere dreamy and bygone. A bit like the series of books about The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton.

Everything from Yuko's mark-making, to the Victorian/Edwardian style clothing, to the muted colour palette gets me excited. I can spend an age browsing through her book "Circus" - sadly the only one I own which I had to order direct from Japan. It's definitely one of my faves and dearly-treasured.

I know that one of her sources of inspiration is Hieronymus Bosch and perhaps nowhere is this more evident that in his piece "The Garden of Earthly Delights" below.

Meanwhile, here's Yuko's website, and if you can enlighten me of any aspects about her and her work, I'd love to hear from you! 

Who are some of your favourite artists and illustrators? Let me know in the comments :)

Bye for now x

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