I’m often drawn to vibrant artwork with figures that look less than happy to be posing on the canvas. It’s this mix of joyful color and slightly perturbed characters that makes Nakazawa Kana’s work so delightful. An artist and graphic designer from Japan, Kana recently graduated from Kyoto Seika University and continues to create works that bring to mind cantankerous adolescents and moments of smirking observation.
Describing the work as places that “reconstruct fragments of memories,” Kana juxtaposes mountains with cityscapes and draws suspicious figures among them. Two illustrations feature a bespectacled gentleman staring out from the canvas in a way that suggests you, the viewer, are either ridiculous or detestable. Another sees a boy offering a toast of beer while birds fly overhead and a scuba diver swims below. My favorite depicts two Hockney-esque travelers somewhere in the mountains where blanketed horses roam. They look completely perplexed by their surroundings as a black sun rises over them like a consolation ribbon.