Bizarre wide-eyed hybrids reflect imaginary landscapes in Naoto Hattori’s miniature paintings

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Inasmuch as

Art

#animals #miniature #painting #surreal

September 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Green March”. All images © Naoto Hattori, shared with permission

Both adorable and incredibly surreal, the fantastical creatures rendered by Naoto Hattori (previously) seamlessly fuse the myriad textures and colors found in nature into unusual hybrids. They are often fluffy, equipped with horns in surprising places, and bear eyes so disproportionately large and glassy that they reflect life-size landscapes. Whether it’s a hairy seahorse-like character or a big bulbous head floating in the air, the characters are reflections on Hattori’s experiences. “When I lucid dream, I imagine myself as a floating hybrid creature or something in tune with nature,” he told Colossal.

Working primarily in acrylics, the Japanese artist keeps his paintings on a small scale, opting for miniature boards that usually stretch no more than six inches. He relishes the technical challenge of these tiny spaces, although the size constraint originally developed when he was diagnosed with severe cervical spondylosis around 10 years ago. “When I tried to draw with my elbows and shoulders, my fingers went numb and I couldn’t control the brush,” he says. “If it’s about the size of a notebook, I can draw without moving my neck or my shoulders… So currently, I’m painting a smaller size that allows me to draw freely with the movements of my wrists and at your fingertips.”

Hattori, who lives in his hometown of Yokohama, Japan, will be part of The Blab Show opening at the CoproGallery in Santa Monica on September 11. You can glimpse his process on Instagram and buy originals and prints on his site.

“Regeneration 3”

Left: “Floating”. Right: “Regeneration 2”

“Mind Pollinator”

“Lucid Dreamer”

Left: “Rooster”. Right: “Sing for Joy”

“Baby Mushroom”

“His Interior”

#animals #miniature #painting #surreal

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