Āto Naoki is a budding young artist who creates by fusing together traditional and contemporary styles. Āto recreates the traditional art of Japanese woodblocks and incorporates modern pop culture characters and references into his pieces. Āto was previously working in the tourism industry however due to COVID that was no longer an option, having all that free time inspired him to start creating. Āto always thought he would end up an artist, much like his father, but didn’t find the right moment until lockdown. Produced in their many thousands and hugely popular during the Edo period (1615 – 1868), colourful woodblock prints, known as ukiyo-e, depict scenes from everyday Japan. Naoki uses these scenes as a backdrop for his new artwork, for example, placing the characters from the video game Street Fighter on a traditional woodblock print of a Japanese street. Naoki screenprints onto wood and then handmakes each frame using the same wood using a technique his father taught him. It is important to Āto to make sure his process is in keeping with traditional woodblock printing, he does this while also making it unique to him.
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