Naomi Okubo’s paintings are pure fashion inspiration. Striking patterned fabric and effortlessly-styled girls are the subjects of Okubo’s young and electric compositions. The Japanese painter infuses complex art historical references and contemporary fashion through creating, on canvas, these colorful, expressive decorative patterns that might remind us of the vivid and ornate works of early expressionist Henri Matisse, or the gestural paint drippings of Jackson Pollock.
Her emphasis on fashion and outer appearance is not to be taken as vanity. Her work is a personal tool of empowerment through which the artist explores her “plural selves.” At a younger age, Okubo became preoccupied with her appearance; the incessant criticism (from herself and others), allowed her to create work that simultaneously explored her feelings and composed various self-images that fit her expectations and desires. Furthermore, it is through her pieces that she aims to understand modern obsessions with material objects as definition of self.