Hiroaki Onuma 大沼寛明
Hiroaki Onuma is one of those artists whose use of pop culture references may go over the head of some – for example your grandparents may not recognise “Blue Eyes White Dragon,” however his exceptional skills when it comes to utilising a variety of mediums is second to none. Skillfully layered oil paintings, and precision use of air brushes create the unique characteristics in Onuma’s paintings – a factor that is gaining recognition within artistic communities. The large scale works have a heavy impact on the viewer, not only through the sheer scale, but the subject matter of a Japanese mythical beast staring down on you has an impressive affect.
I first met Hiro in London, in early 2016 through mutual friends, however, it wasn’t until his solo show at Paris’ Sobering Galerie in 2020 that I really experienced and appreciated his works fully. Following the purchase of his painting, Ancient World, (the first of hopefully many), we built a relationship with the artist and are now delighted to present a range of works online – and soon in the physical realm.
“Hiroaki Onuma was born in 1988 in the Japanese prefecture of Tochigi, an industrial basin with an exceptional natural heritage. At the age of 18, he left his province for the capital. In Tokyo, fashion marketing studies lead him on a creative path. Hiroaki’s adventurous character sets him apart from those around him. Eager to get out of Japan to explore the world, he tries the entry examination for the prestigious Central Saint Martins school in London. He was accepted in 2009 and left to follow a course which took him from fashion to the fine arts.
Since then, Hiroaki Onuma has exulted all his pop energy in monumental compositions featuring his iconic creatures. Hiroaki Onuma’s aesthetic daring is expressed through acid tones and iconography from hip-hop, unscrupulously shocking artistic good taste.
This radical painting has its origins in the movements of Western Pop Art and underground Japanese manga. To describe his work, the artist defines himself as an heir to Funk Art, a figurative and humorous pictorial movement assuming the second degree and the trash aesthetic, represented by Peter Saul, the spiritual father of Hiroaki Onuma.
The monsters that appear on the paintings of Onuma are mutants escaped from Japanese folklore. The multi-headed dragons reinterprets the mythical Yamata-no-Orochi (ヤ マ タ ノ オ ロ チ, 八岐 の 大蛇). An Amabie (ア マ ビ エ), a prophetic creature announcing abundance or plagues, appears on a canvas created during the pandemic. Fish, protectors in the Japanese tradition, are also projected in this comic book universe.”