Born Takeru Amano (1979) is about 10 years old when he visits an exhibition of Keith Haring in a department store in Tokyo. What he witnesses makes a lasting impression on him. Haring uses the walls of the store to paint on, so instead of using paper, the young Takeru decides to spray-paint some flowers on the walls of the local swimming pool. It marks the beginning of his colourful career.
Takeru was born with a pencil in his hand. His whole family was drawing; it was part of their daily life. He therefore didn’t go to art school. What could a school teach him that he didn’t already know? The Takeru Amano we celebrate today, was already there.
His world is unique and childlike, inspired by the Japanese culture of the end of the 20th century in which he grew up. Takeru uses classical, philosophical or even mythological subjects and mixes them with neo-pop aesthetics and often a touch of humour. Think of a Venus with a lemon. Or the Virgin Mary sketched in bright neon colours. It can be surprising to see these well-known (Western) icons, from his Tokyo pop perspective, surreal even.
In 2020, Takeru Amano published his first art book, Icons. Since then, his career has soared, with international recognition and exhibitions all over the world.