It’s hard to give a painting by Sachiko Kanaizumi a quick glance. They’re the type of paintings that beg for long stares and cocked head contemplation as you behold the surreal and whimsical worlds she creates. Fairy girls inhabit a heap of discarded books while bats swarm little ladies bobbing in an unusual stream. Kanaizumi’s work is captivating and mysterious all at once, and so is she.
There doesn’t seem to be much information about her online. Her bio states that she is from Kanagawa, Japan, and is a graduate of Tama Art University. I found her work through Nylon magazine, which ran a fantastic illustration of a childlike candy wonderland populated by wide-eyed girls and a giant bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. Kanaizumi’s work reminds me of Henry Darger, and there are traces of his wild and expansive In the Realms of the Unreal paintings. But perhaps she’s also inspired by dark children’s books—Edward Gorey and Roald Dahl come to mind—where animals come to life and children combat their dire circumstances with imagination.