Hello Kitty mania has hit Los Angeles. On view in conjuction with Hello Kitty Con, which opened yesterday, is her “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty” 40th anniversary exhibit at Japanese American National Museum (JANM). The show is curated by Christine Yano, author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek Across the Pacific, and Jamie Rivadeneira, founder of JapanLA. Attendees are led through a retrospective that highlights the history and development of Hello Kitty as a cultural icon, before they arrive to the art exhibition, a modern interpretation of this famous character.
On Saturday, CHG Circa revealed Kazuki Takamatsu’s much anticipated second solo with the gallery (previewed here), “Spiral of Emotions”. Takamatsu, who was in attendance from Japan, has captured the curiosity of his fans with his signature technique called Depth Mapping. Ask Takamatsu about his perplexing style and he might label it as “Shojo-Irasuto”, or a style of illustration inspired by Japanese girl’s comics. He is part of a new generation that celebrates its pop culture, which we see in his goddess-like school girls with a heavenly aura. Takamatsu once fronted his own punk rock band, “Almond Crush”, and follows current fashion trends, but he also has a spiritual side rooted in cultural tradition. His twelve new paintings explore this tug of war between the old and new.