“I still have a picture that I drew when I was two years old.” While that statement proves Yumi’s natural affinity for art and her long-standing passion, the unfolding of her unique style is a story of growth and discovery.
Yumiko Kayukawa was born in the small town of Naie in Hokkaido, Japan. The panoramic beauty of her surroundings and feelings of communication with the native animals inspired her to paint the things around her. As a teenager she also fell in love “with the energy and giddiness” of American pop-culture through her exposure to rock n’ roll, film, and fashion. By the age of 16, she had debuted into the art world with a comic-book (Manga) feature.
After graduating from Art school, she continued to paint, but struggled with truly expressing herself in her art. Fortunately, this frustration took a dramatic turn during a visit to Seattle where Yumi painted a picture at the request of an American friend. In comic-book style, two girls sit entwined atop a mushroom, Japanese symbols and American pop art styles melding together in lively color and bold lines. Yumi now realized her art persona – sagacious Japanese tradition in synergy with the jubilant irreverence of American pop culture.
What does she see for her future as an artist? “I’d rather my paintings hang next to rock star pin-ups than on museum walls. Ultimately I want to connect with people all over the world on that level,” she says with a smile. When we look at her work, it’s obviously just a matter of time.
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