Akira Yamaguchi


Akira Yamaguchi (born 1969) draws upon a blend of traditional and contemporary Japanese styles in his vibrant and detailed cityscapes. His oil painting technique is reminiscent of yamato-e and ukiyo-e brushwork, as well as manga. He depicts bustling crowds and monumental architecture, his work sometimes dark and often humorous. Yamaguchi’s paintings expand the limits of the imagination by dramatically bending spatial perception using the fukinuki-yatai, or “exploded roof,” technique to show aerial views of bustling interior spaces that would otherwise be hidden from view. His painting Department Store: Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, 2011 is just one iconic example of this approach. “I wanted to try to find a way into traditional Japanese painting as it was back before Western art reached Japan,” says Yamaguchi. “In other words, I wanted to re-do the modernization of Japanese art for myself.”


Born in Tokyo, Akira Yamaguchi grew up in the city of Kiryū, Gunma Prefecture. He received both his B.A. and M.A. in oil painting from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. His masterful works are exhibited globally, reviving traditional Japanese painting with bold new life and contemporary pop influences. Yamaguchi currently lives and works in Tokyo. 


related works

  • Known for his depictions of urban landscapes, artist Antonio Segui introduces humour and play in his work through eccentric figures and nonsensical scenarios. View his work.
  • Lu Xinjian reimagines metropolitan maps as abstract geometries, capturing the unique and labyrinthine quality of each city he recreates. View his work.