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Fantastical Humanimal Illustrations

Mao Nakada Uses Woodblock Prints for Fairy-Tale Magic

— July 20, 2011 — Art & Design
Mao Nakada is a 30-year-old Japanese artist who is known for utilizing a traditional form of Japanese woodblock printing and updating it to include eye-catching elements of different artistic styles like humanimal subjects and surrealism.

Woodblock printing in Japan is a technique where artists draw onto a washi, the thin Japanese paper used to transfer the material, and then is glued onto a plank. Then, using a small rock like instrument, the washi is pressed against the paper, which transfers the image.

Combining this historical technique with Mao Nakada's classical training -- he has a Bachelor's in Oil Painting from the Nagoya University of Arts and the Masters program at Tama Art University -- Mao Nakada is able to pay homage to the technical aspects of art while showing off his own unique style. His humanimal portraits are alluring, confounding, and a bit creepy. The illustrations are the perfect blend of eye-catching, shocking, and unique, enough so that they have attracted attention from art galleries in both Tokyo and Taiwan, with expectations that they will continue through Asia and spread to North America or Europe next.

Take a look at Mao Nakada's inventive new school-old school artistic technique and see what the hype is about.

Implications - One of the most effective ways a company can draw immediate attention from consumers is by featuring advertising with a surrealist or fantastical bent. By immediately capturing consumer attention through initial confusion, the brand stands a good chance that consumers will spend more time viewing the marketing, which increases brand awareness and ensures that the public understands the brand's image.
Trend Themes
1. Modernizing Traditional Techniques - Mao Nakada has updated the traditional technique of Japanese woodblock printing with modern design elements, opening up opportunities for other artists to combine historical techniques with contemporary styles.
2. Surrealist and Fantastical Art - Artists like Mao Nakada are gaining popularity in the art world for their surrealist and fantastical subject matter, providing opportunities for galleries and museums to showcase unique and attention-grabbing exhibitions.
3. Eye-catching Advertising - Surrealist and fantastical art can be utilized in advertising to quickly capture consumer attention and increase brand awareness, potentially leading to higher engagement and sales.
Industry Implications
1. Art - Mao Nakada's work provides opportunities for other artists to explore and experiment with traditional techniques in creating unique and engaging artwork.
2. Gallery/museum - The popularity of surrealist and fantastical art, such as Mao Nakada's, presents opportunities for galleries and museums to showcase unique exhibitions and attract a wider audience.
3. Advertising/marketing - Artists like Mao Nakada can provide eye-catching and attention-grabbing art for use in advertising and marketing campaigns, potentially leading to increased brand awareness and engagement.
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