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Rare Doodles, Paintings, and Sculptures by Yoshitomo Nara

This month, we had the pleasure of taking a look at a shiny and enormous new catalog of Yoshitomo Nara’s artwork, Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works, recently released by Chronicle Books. The gorgeous box set includes two 408-page volumes filled with the much-loved Japanese artist’s sculptures, paintings, doodles, photographs, drawings and mixed media pieces representing the full breadth of his career, as well as essays by Takashi Murakami, Banana Yoshimoto, and Nara himself.

Influenced by Japanese anime, punk rock, Walt Disney, and the culture of post-WWII Japan, Nara’s works are often disarmingly adorable but just a little bit ominous or vicious at the same time (large-eyed children holding knives, for instance), and he is loved by art critics and fans alike. Needless to say, there are many gems in this monster collection, but because much of Nara’s work is so iconic and immediately recognizable, we were most interested in the work that seemed a little more unusual — at least in terms of what we’ve seen before — so his rough doodles, his less-stylized paintings, and his “editions” were the works that most drew our attention. But don’t worry, we couldn’t help picking out some of our favorite traditional-style Nara paintings as well. Click through to get a taste of Yoshitomo Nara: The Complete Works and let us know what you think in the comments.


Yoshitomo Nara, Ocean Child (In the Floating World), 1999. Edition. Courtesy of Chronicle Books