Hiro Ando (1973)
Hiro Ando was born in 1973 on the island of Shikoku in Japan. He completed his studies at the University of Tama Art in Tokyo, and thereafter, beginning in 1995 he worked as an illustrator. Little by little, he moved toward a much more individualistic art practice, ultimately founding the ‘Crazy Noodles’ studio with Saori Nakamishi in Tokyo in 2005. Through this practice Hiro Ando sought to encourage young artists to create their own individual style. Composed of mostly Japanese artists at first, they were soon joined by French artist Fanu and Chinese artist Xiao Mei; now the group totals Ando plus ten. All share the same appreciation for Japanese pop culture, expressing themselves through anime, manga, and video games.
The driving force of the Neo Pop wave, Hiro Ando has mastered each technique and medium, alternating seamlessly between oil on canvas, 3D technology, and utilising video alongside drawing, painting, and sculpting.
His paintings superimpose, against a recurring background of nocturnal realistic views of Tokyo, a foreground composed of human and animal figures seemingly lifted straight out of an anime or manga source (for example schoolchildren, koi, and samurai cats). The juxtaposition of the two subjects in this play of graphic design, and the contrast between sombre tonalities of the background and vibrant colours of the figures, yields a lively and dynamic effect. So too do the modern world and the ancestral traditions of Japan confront one another, suggested playfully by the inclusion of red fish and cats.
From the moment he began working in sculpture, these cats became Hiro Ando’s preferred subject. Hiro Ando’s version of the maneki-neko or Japanese lucky cat, for example, is available in different sizes, from 25 cm to 1.5 m, in such series as UrbanCat, SamouraïCat, SumoCat, and RobotCat. These cats are made in shiny materials such as resin and porcelain, in neon colours, and in various ‘kawaii’ (cute) forms. Through these series Hiro Ando inspires a dialogue between tradition and popular culture.
Beyond the playful appearance of the genre, the Neo Pop Art movement led by Hiro Ando seeks to distance itself from the vision of modernity imposed upon it by the West, thereby inventing its own contemporary Japanese culture in dialogue with traditional Japanese cultural codes.
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Art works from Hiro Ando
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