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Extra Credit Artist paper, Jordain Chinander

Yoshitaka Amano, an Artist of True Inspiration
Written by: Jordain K. Chinander

I am writing about my favorite contemporary artist, a person who is an endless inspiration to me, Yoshitaka Amano. Yoshitaka began as a professional artist at a young age and has continued to produce new works and generate fresh ideas ever since. Amano has a style like nothing else I have ever seen. He has works spanning the artistic gamut. Be it illustration work in books and graphic novels or film and animation pieces, Yoshitaka can draw, paint, or design for anything thrown at him while still staying true to his own unique style, and that is what makes him an artist worthy of admiration. I hope to someday be as successful and fulfilled as he in my own career as a visual artist.

Amano was born in 1952 a small town at the base of mount Fuji in Shizuoka Japan. He showed interest in drawing from a young age. As a young child he would waste the day away drawing endless pictures on large rolls of paper that his older brother would bring home for him from the factory that he worked in.

In 1967 at the age of only 15, he boldly marketed himself to the Tatsunoko animation studio while visiting a friend of his in Tokyo. The studio was so impressed with the paintings Amano presented to them that they instantly put him to work on a series they were producing at the time. The show was called “Space Ace and Mach Go Go Go.� From the work he did on that series he was promoted to work on additional series like: “Gatchaman,� “Hutch the Honeybee,� and “Cashaan: Robot Hunter.�

After fifteen years with Tatsunoko studios, Yoshitaka began a career as a freelance artist. By this time he had already gained a huge following in Japan and his work was a continued success. From here he began to produce paintings and drawings for many well-known books and graphic novels. Some of his best know works were his character designs for the “Final Fantasy� games and his illustrations done for Hideyuki Kikuchi’s “Vampire Hunter: D� series and Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman: The Dream Hunter.�

Besides his work on T.V. animation series and in books and graphic novel series, Yoshitaka has also had great luck and much fame with him own private works. He has traveled all over the world showing his pieces in some of the best galleries and museums. He has shown in New York City’s Puck Building and at the Angel Orensanz Foundation. His work has been exhibited in the Tokyo Uenonomori Museum, were it attracted an unprecedented record of viewers. He has shown work in Los Angeles and the list goes on and on.

I first found myself attracted to Yoshitaka Amano when I fell in love with the “Vampire Hunter: D� series and movies. From there I began to research his work and found more and more paintings and illustrations that made me love this man’s unique style.

Amano does work in an often very dark and fanciful sort of dream-like manner. His characters always have an airbrushed quality about them and are very often done in way resembling ancient Japanese drawings and paintings. He will sometimes contrast a very dark and silhouetted character with some minimal vibrantly colored detail in the background or somewhere on the character or subject of the piece.

I would have to say what is most breath-taking for me about Yoshitaka’s work is the uncontrollable sense of depth and emotion in the purest form that is inherent in all of his work. I am always taken with each piece of Amano’s that I look upon. He is truly an inspiration for me.

I have never in my life been so attracted to another artist’s style and ability to produce such a variety of work while remaining true to himself and his form of expression. Yoshitaka is in my mind the epitome of what every working artist should strive to become in their own careers. He is true to himself and to his vision. He can draft you a character for a video game, illustrate you a book, design you a clothing line, build you a theatrical set or animate you a movie or T.V. series. He is a true maverick and a brilliant visionary. I hope to someday look back on a career as successful and fulfilling as that of Yoshitaka Amano’s.