While in Western culture, bunnies are considered friendly, benign creatures, in Japan they represent lonesome spirits. Hikari Shimoda (featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 29), a private, contemplative artist, often likens herself to these bushy-tailed furry friends. Based in Nagana, Japan, Shimoda has made LA her temporary home as she prepares for her solo show at CHG Circa, “Fantastic Planet, Goodbye Man,” opening July 19 in Culver City. Coincidentally enough, on the first day of her stay, Shimoda found and rescued a stray pet rabbit who has been her studio companion as she finalizes her new body of work.
Filled with myriad pastel and iridescent shades, Shimoda’s paintings of injured children intermingle the grotesque with visual opulence and suggestions of childhood innocence. She paints sparkles, stars and kaleidoscopic reflections of color that evoke something along the lines of glitter dust falling from a unicorn’s tail. Yet within this kawaii imagery, there are deep notes of sadness evoked by the characters’ tragic eyes and improbable physical scars. One of the paintings in the show features a long-haired girl whose amulet and pigtails recalls the popular Japanese cartoon Sailer Moon. Yet, as Shimoda explained, the youthful character represents Buddha Amitābha, the celestial Buddha whose name translates from Sanskrit to “infinite light.” Hi-Fructose visited Shimoda in her LA studio to get a sneak peek of her works in progress before “Fantastic Planet, Goodbye Man” opens on July 19.
Photos by Caro.