Japanese artist Naoto Hattori imagines small fluffy animals with healthy doses of fantasy and some unnatural hybridization. The painted creatures often feature round heads and disproportionately large and reflective eyes. Cat-birds with mushrooms growing on their furry heads and other mashup beasts toe the line between whimsical and eerie thanks to large eyes that reveal unseen forests and landscapes.
These acrylic paintings are small, typically measuring less than 3 inches by 3 inches when unframed. The artist’s style has been labeled as pop surrealist, but Hattori says it’s just what he sees in his mind. Hattori tells Colossal that he has been drawing eyes since he was three years old. “When I closed my eyes, I could see a colorful eye like a mandala and it kept changing shape like a kaleidoscope. I drew hundreds of the eye images. Back then, I was thinking that it was something everyone could see.”
Hattori continued painting eyes as he got older and earned a BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. The creatures in the paintings are avatars for the artist entering the world of his imagination.[…]