As a self-taught artist, Itsuki has started to create paintings in 2010, inspired by the artworks from early to mid Showa era (1926-1989), portraying young girls. The exhibition held in Japan in 2018 has motivated him to introduce a series of ‘Heisei Era Girls’ paintings, referring to the previous era in Japan (years 1989-2019), the most familiar era to the artist.
The girl motif is present in various forms in contemporary Japan. It’s ubiquitous in fine art, manga, anime, film, literature as well as the entertainment industry which demonstrates its overpowering influence. However, this very motif was in wide circulation in classical Japanese art too, for instance Ukiyo-e.
Over the 20th century the publishing industry, especially girl’s magazines, flourished. This resulted in the proliferation of illustrations making use of the girl motif. The influences of that trend have been far-reaching.
Today, the universality of the girl motif permeates the work of Itsuki Nagaya whose portraits, although strikingly modern, hark back to a rich past of the Japanese girl portraiture.