I recently discovered the art of Tadanori Yokoo, only to learn that he's considered one of, if not the most influential Japanese graphic designers of the 20th century. While his popularity in the 60's led to a lot of work providing psychedelic artwork for bands (including The Beatles), his primary medium seems to have been the poster, where his design and style just blows my mind. Each poster has its own complex layout and architecture, from his beautiful borders to the layered collages of images within the frame, ranging in scale from the miniature to the massive. Bright bold colors, but always within a decisive palette. A perfect integration of hand-drawn images and lettering and photographic images. Playfulness and beauty. I plan on stealing as much as humanly possible from this guy in the future.

There doesn't seem to be an affordable way to hang any Tadanori Yokoo posters on my wall, but I've ordered this book on Amazon to study these designs and a prolific amount of others in greater depth. Thorough scavenging in bookstores around the world sometimes leads to a discovery of a cheap book of Yokoo posters, or, if you're lucky, a copy of "Waterfall Rapture: Postcards of Falling Water:" a photographic book devoted to Yokoo's personal collection of waterfall postcards. It might be my favorite book I own, and it deserves its own blog post.

I love everything Japanese, especially visual art and design, but Tadanori Yokoo just about takes the cake. And to make him even more of a badass in my mind, I just learned that he starred in Nagisa Oshima's film Diary of a Shinjuku Thief. Check out this blog post at 50 Watts (one of my very favorite art/design blogs on the internet) to learn a little more about Yokoo and see some additional images. Be sure to click on them and enlarge to appreciate the detail.


J. Ott said...

This cut-out collage look really doesn't do it for me. What might've felt fresh and revolutionary at the time right now looks very "throwback" -- with the color palettes especially.

I feel like where this look is ripe is in movie titles and after-effects-style flat animation and not so much in poster and album-cover designs.

Sarah Habibi said...

I tried to hire him for Mishima but was unable to. He appears very briefly in the film. Luckily we are very happy with where we ended up.

Sam's Myth said...

That's incredible... and yeah, the cover you ended up with was pretty awesome! Thanks for reading :)