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Hiroaki-Onuma ( b.1988)

Born and raised in the countryside of Japan, Hiroaki Onuma became accustomed to the mono-cultured environment that surrounded him. In the quiet paced almost routine-like childhood, he would turn to his imagination to summon action into his youth – and that is when he discovered Anime like YugioOh and DragonBall. Growing up with the monsters depicted in the shows, the misconception of monsters being scary creatures no longer affected him and instead it has become a symbol of nostalgia.

After moving to London to study Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins, it was a great eye-opener for him to say the least. In contrast to his hometown – London was a complete juxtaposition. It was a different world and although initially it wasn’t an easy task to familiarize himself with the city, eventually he grew to become a part of it. Through the process of overcoming the barriers of communication and culture he discovered how to combine different styles into his creations, which he named as fusion painting.

Since University the keywords fusion and hybridity were at the core of his methodology, and after bringing them to the Netherlands, he named it the Monster Project. Onuma finds inspiration via daily life experiences (anime, hip hop, fashion) and symbols of capitalism (iphone, sneakers) and incorporates them into his own creations. By extracting symbols from the tangible world he transfers them onto his intangible world.

By dabbling in a wide spectrum of mediums and styles, he allows himself to extend beyond the confinements and restrictions of classic paintings. Through the use of different textures, layers, brush strokes, colours, images and styles – Onuma describes his process as a form of improvisation with a sense of playfulness almost like that of a child building a sandcastle. Combined with the help of punchy vivid colours his process can be depicted through the works in which he creates, ranging from abstract paintings to cute cuddly animals.

According to Onuma, the monsters act as a speculative place that not only allow him to output the combination of his diverse interests and experiences into Japanese and Western styles but also as devices that hold his memories and origin of Japan. He wants to transcend the dualism of figurative and abstract, and interprets the concept of monsters as a convenient tool that can include both figurative and abstract. ‘A monster is a bridge between figurative and abstract’. 

Enjoy Hiroaki’s world.

© Hiroaki Onuma 2021