The art of Takato Yamamoto


Takato Yamamoto was born in Akita prefecture (Japan) in 1960. After graduating from the painting department of the Tokyo Zokei University, he experimented with the Ukiyo-e Pop style. He further refined and developed that style to create his “Heisei Esthiticism” style. His first exhibition was held in Tokyo, in 1998.

There’s much that’s superficially familiar in Takato Yamamoto’s art—“Boy’s Love” tableaux with fey young men in various states of undress mooning over each other, then the perennial Japanese obsession with naked women bound by ropes. But closer examination reveals a degree of finesse and imagination that elevates his work away from the porn ghetto into the rarified realm of Decadence (as if those favourite Symbolist themes of Saint Sebastian [above] and Salomé [below] weren’t enough of a clue). For a start the drawing style is a great amalgam of influences from Beardsley through to Harry Clarke by way of the finest Edwardian pornographer, Franz von Bayros. Then there’s the curious details of severed heads, claws, sundry bones and eyeballs which decorate the otherwise florid arrangements supporting the figures. So far there don’t appear to have been any books of Takato Yamamoto’s work produced in the west and it’s possible that the sexual content and grotesquery limits that possibility. But you can some galleries here, here and here. His official site is mostly Japanese and has to be navigated from an interior page since there seems to be a file missing from the index.






Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The gay artists archive
The fantastic art archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Alla Nazimova’s Salomé
Fantazius Mallare and the Kingdom of Evil
The Decorative Age

15 thoughts on “The art of Takato Yamamoto”

  1. I’m sure I’ve seen a few of these before, nevertheless great shit, and again look ideally suited for Naked City album art.

  2. Vania Zouravliov

    If you like Mr. Yamamoto’s work you should check out this guy, brought to my attention on a post about Audrey Kawasaki’s artwork:

    He’s a russian illustrator recently inducted into Big Active’s stable of talent. There’s a comprehensive selection of his work on their website but the link above got me hook, line and sinker, especially with the first and last images posted. Hope you agree.

    Incidentally, I was fairly horrified when you introduced me to the art of John Austen earlier this year. Surely the estate of Harry Clarke should’ve sued his plagiarist arse off? Looking at the various web sources for his output, in picture after picture I was thinking ‘oh yes, that bit’s from Clarke’s Faust, that bit’s from Tales of Mystery and Imagination and Oh look – that’s from a stained glass window! Not to mention the borrowings from Kay Nielsen – but I digress… go and feast your eyes on the gorgeous and perverse intricacies of Zouravliov.

  3. I saw that Boingboing post but didn’t follow it up so thanks for the reminder. :)

    Yes, Austen’s early work is very similar to HC’s but then Clarke was imitating Beardsley as well although he gradually developed his own particular style. Beardsley’s influence was huge from 1890 onwards, there was even a magazine called Black and White running for a while, devoted to that kind of art. I usually see it more as a sub-genre of the art of the time, rather like the post-Pre Raphaelite Medievalism that was also very common during that period.

  4. If you’re interested in Mr. Yamamoto’s art, you should check out Dir en grey’s album art for their single ‘Dozing Green’ which was illustrated by him. Its stunning.

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