Yoko d’Holbachie was born in Yokohama, Japan in 1971. As a child she created creatures in her mind; invisible friends that she would build out of tongues, eyes and tentacles. The adults around her thought it was a bit of a creepy pastime for a child, but that didn’t stop Yoko from giving her creatures life on canvas. Yoko d’Holbachie uses both oil paint and acrylic paint to create her trippy art works, manipulating the paint to describe the decorative, alienish creatures in her mind.
Many of Yoko d’Holbachie’s paintings seem otherworldly, an attribute that often appears in surrealist art works. ‘Pop surrealism’ is a term that is used to describe a form of surrealist art that has appeared in the last few decades. Pop surrealist art is often humorous, with the type of humor depending on the personality of the artist. Influenced by popular media such as cartoons, comics books, graffiti and tattoo designs, pop surrealism is a mash of modern culture, artistic expression and surrealist elements.
In Japanese culture, the word “kawaii” is used to describe characters that are cute or lovable. Kawaii art usually consists of cutesy cute characters that make the viewer fall in love with them simply because they are so adorable. In Yoko d’Holbachie’s paintings, her kawaii characters have a slightly darker element. Because of their bizarre anatomy and alienish worlds, the creatures are a bit too twisted to fall within the bounds of “normal” kawaii art. It is this slightly twisted aspect that gives Yoko’s paintings such visual appeal. The eye moves from striped tentacles to flowery fingers, skipping past a hoard of flying alien creatures that resemble ice cream cones. While truly bizarre, these characters are still lovable. Perhaps this is because the artist is so in love with her creatures, describing the creation of each painting as similar to a woman giving birth to a child.