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Belle: The Art of Junko Mizuno
Back in 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting the celebrated Japanese artist, Junko Mizuno. I’d first heard of Junko twenty odd years ago (most of my years are odd), when I was given a very strange but beautiful fantasy-horror manga called Junko Mizuno’s Cinderalla for a birthday present by my good friend, David Hine. A few years later, Atomica Gallery, in association with Comica Festival, hosted a show entitled Belle: The Art of Junko Mizuno. This was a retrospective solo exhibition of Junko’s work, bringing together a collection of original paintings, rare limited edition prints, iconic silk-screen posters and other works from throughout her esteemed career. ‘Belle’ was the first ever showing of Mizuno’s work in London, so I attended the opening night with a few of my comics fraternity pals, and took a some photographs of the event. I also bought one of Junko's limited edition prints.
Here are some of her amazing works on show that night.
From the show’s press release: ‘Born in Japan and currently residing in San Francisco, Mizuno is a self-taught artist who is recognized for her unique style of powerful and erotic female imagery. Juxtaposing childlike cuteness and horror, her psychedelic female characters exude positive energy and playful sexuality. Submerged in 70s Japanese cute-culture whilst growing up in Tokyo, Mizuno is also inspired by countless other pop-cult sources including toys, comics, food and music, as well as fetish, folk and religious art.’
The evening began with an amusing introduction by British tv celebrity and comics aficionado, Jonathan Ross, who is a keen advocate of Junko's work.