Inspired by popular culture in her native Japan and beyond, Yoko d’Holbachie’s paintings are at once vividly inviting and disturbingly dark. Candy colored creatures with wormlike tentacles travel through fantasy landscapes. Elements of Kawaii, Anime, Pop Art and Surrealism blend together in tightly rendered works that pull the viewer in with bright, cheerful energy and hold on with strange, complex elements. Time spent with these charming beasts elicits questions about our ideas of reality, appearance, power and danger. Is this seemingly sweet creature planning to do harm or does it actually need help? Is it reaching out with gentle tendrils or are those poisonous vines? Can first, second, or even third impressions be trusted in art and life?
d’Holbochie was born in 1971 in Yokohama, Japan. She studied design and art at Tama Art University in Tokyo and has worked for almost 10 years as a freelance designer for advertisements, books and magazines, as well as doing design for entertainment and video games. Her artwork has been exhibited in London, Rome, Los Angeles and Miami. Her 2012 exhibition at AFA Gallery, ‘My Strange Goddess’, marked her first solo show in the US.
“Though people who view my works are free to interpret my paintings any way they want, I often use butterflies and birds as symbols of reincarnation. I also use alchemical symbols as occult elements. I also like the story of how the world was born. Japanese legends and myths also really help me to create concrete subjects of my paintings.” – Yoko d’Holbachie (Beautiful Bizarre)