Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara is one of the most influential artists to emerge from Japan's Pop art movement in the 1990s. Drawing inspiration from the anime and manga characters that he was exposed to during his childhood, Nara creates characters, usually small children, who possess similar cartoonish qualities, with highly stylized features and especially large eyes. However, Nara's illustrations of children, who are often brandishing weapons, are often more menacing and devilish than they are cute and innocent.
Nara has assembled a cult-like following centered around his child-like illustrations—however the themes surrounding his work touch on broader social and cultural topics, such as violence and the rigidity of social structures in Japan. Though he works mainly in painting and drawing, he also experiments in sculpture and installations.
Since his first solo exhibition at Blum and Poe Gallery in 1984, Nara has had nearly 40 solo exhibitions worldwide, from Iceland to Japan to France to the United States.