Naoto Hattori - Creator Deity (detail) - Photo Credits Naoto Hattori

Naoto Hattori

Japan 1975


Naoto Hattori
Naoto Hattori
April 15, 2016
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At first glance, one would think that Naoto Hattori‘s paintings were created digitally. Only when inspected up close you would be able to see that his work is actually created with acrylic paint with a perfect technique this artist has mastered over the course of his career. His artwork is full of strong psychedelic influences and represents a contemporary version of the Surrealism movement. Drawing much inspiration from the legendary Salvador Dali, but also sharing a lot of characteristics of his modern colleges such as Marion Peck and Mark Ryden, Hattori managed to create a world that’s both totally bizarre and completely his own.

Naoto Hattori - Recollection 031 (left), Cosmic Breath (right) - The opening of the beautiful exhibition Inches and a Board was in the April 2013 - sold in 2016 to the acrylic group
Naoto Hattori – Recollection 031 (left), Cosmic Breath (right)

Before Surrealism

Naoto Hattori was born in 1975 in Yokohama, a Japanese city south and not that far from Tokyo. His first contact with art was when he was still a toddler and was impressed by street art and graffiti. However, this never attracted him to a level high enough for Naoto to try and do something more then simply doodle on walls. Some time later, in his early teen years, he was introduced to and became fascinated by Graphic Design, so it was only a natural turn of events when he decided to pursue a career in that department. After merely starting to scratch the surface of his future profession in a Tokyo school, Hattori moved to New York and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts. He completed all the exams with flying colors, receiving a BFA in Illustration during the year of 2000. Although Naoto came to New York with the intention of developing his graphic designer skills, ultimately he was provided with exceptional knowledge of art in general. This led him to a whole new world he fell in love with – oil painting. Hattori slowly discovered what this medium was capable of achieving and could not resist but to test himself in acrylic painting. Interestingly enough, this turned out to be his true calling as he discovered he was extremely talented at it. After wrapping up the education he intended for himself in America, Hattori decided it was time to go home and returned to the Land of the Rising Son. However, the dynamics of New York sunk into Naoto’s habits and he was not able to stay away from the Big Apple for too long, eventually coming back and settling here permanently. Over time, he managed to establish a personal visual dictionary he applied to his paintings. He explains, I create something from my stream of consciousness, where I see my feelings and those weird creatures. I capture the feelings and try to visualize them, I paint them, and then free the image back into my stream of consciousness again.

Hattori developed a personal visual dictionary of surreal themes

Naoto Hattori - Life Generator, 2012 (left), Purple Haze, 2014 (right) - The opening of the beautiful exhibition Inches and a Board was in the April 2013 - sold in 2016 to the acrylic group
Naoto Hattori – Life Generator, 2012 (left), Purple Haze, 2014 (right)

The Character Of Hattori’s Paintings

Hattori has a distinct style that is evident in his works. Most of his pieces have a strong surreal note to them, with floating heads, 3-eyed creatures, structures on clouds and other visuals that you would only be able to see in your dreams. Such elements are clear evidence of just how much influence Hattori found in the works of Salvador Dali, probably the most famous surrealist painter of all time. Since we are on that particular subject, inspiration has never been a hard thing to find for Hattori – by his own admission, he has been known to paint for up to 12 hours per day! It has been noted that he annually announces more than a hundred pieces. Putting so much of his heart and time into his work could only end up paying off for Naoto. Of his work, Hattori says: My vision is like a dream, whether it’s a sweet dream, a nightmare, or just a trippy dream. I try to see what’s really going on in my mind, and that’s a practice to increase my awareness in stream-of-consciousness creativity. I try not to label or think about what is supposed to be, just take it in as it is and paint whatever I see in my mind with no compromise. That way, I create my own vision. Naoto managed to give birth to a universe filled with amazing creatures and human-like beings, as well as things that simultaneously resemble both man and monsters. His artwork has served as an inspiration for many aspiring artists who believe themselves to be fit for surreal expression. Hattori was recognized for his work on many occasions, most notably when he received awards from the Society of Illustrators, the New York Directors Club and the Communication Arts. Hattori was displayed in numerous exhibitions, both of solo and group character. He has also been published in many magazines and is often used as a name to represent the focal point of the Pop surrealism art movement.

A big part of Hattori’s pieces are the bizarre creatures that inhabit them

Naoto Hattori - Silent Consciousness, 2014 (left), King Eyecat, 2014 (right) - The opening of the beautiful exhibition Inches and a Board was in the April 2013 - sold in 2016 to the acrylic group
Naoto Hattori – Silent Consciousness, 2014 (left), King Eyecat, 2014 (right)

The Weirdness Of Hattori’s Art

Naoto Hattori is a true artist of the bizarre. He depicts fantastic creatures, animals, and a world observed by thousands of eyes, unveiling a reality that is totally impossible to define and subject to a constant flowing metamorphosis – very similar to the aforementioned Dali. The method with which he depicts such a universe has been brought to a perfect level, so it’s not easy to choose if you will first admire Hattori’s technique or the contents of his compositions. His artwork is priceless to the art scene and there is no reason to for us to believe that Naoto will eventually lose his sixth sense for depicting such an odd realm.

The artist is represented by Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, California.

Naoto Hattori lives and works in New York, US.

Featured Image: Naoto Hattori – Creator Deity (detail) – Photo Credits Naoto Hattori
All Images Photo Credits Naoto Hattori

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016beautiful.bizarreVanilla Gallery, JapanGroup
2015Between WorldsCHG Circa GalleryGroup
2015(CA) Official Star Wars Art AwakensGallery 1988 GalleryGroup
2015Official Star Wars Art AwakensGallery 1988, CAGroup
2015Roadside Attractions 2Copro Gallery, CAGroup
2015Small WorksBaker Hesseldenz Fine Art, AZGroup
2015Inaugural Group ShowHeaven Gallery, NYGroup
2015Digital MirrorsArch Enemy Arts, PAGroup
2015Ever SurrealFlower Pepper Gallery, CAGroup
2015GenesisCopro Gallery, CASolo
2015Art Collector Starter Kit IIICHG Circa Gallery, CAGroup
2015Thinkspace curated LAX-DTWInner State Gallery, MIGroup
2015Small WorksBaker Hesseldenz Fine Art, AZGroup
2015Spring: New BeginningsHeart N Soul Gallery, CAGroup
2015Nightmare in Wonderland Project Part IIDistinction Gallery, CAGroup
2015Imaginary MenagrieArch Enemy Arts, PAGroup
20151st Annual Spring Group ShowBaker Hesseldenz Fine Art, AZGroup
2015DreamlandsCHG Circa Gallery, CAGroup
2015Pow! Wow!Honolulu Museum, HIGroup
201520 Years Under The Influence of JUXTAPOZLAMAG, CAGroup
2015Portrature NowBaker Hesseldenz Fine Art, AZGroup
201413th HourLast Rite Gallery, NYCGroup
2014Wait for the MoonArch Enemy Arts, PAGroup
2014Pop SurrealistBaker Hesseldenz Fine Art, AZGroup
2014Masters of IllusionGlass Garage Gallery, CAGroup
2014Sight Beyond SightArch Enemy Arts, PAGroup
2014UnknownDorothy Circus Gallery, Rome, ItalySolo
2014Suggestivism 4Copro Gallery, CAGroup
2013Bound RequiemLast Rite Gallery, NYCGroup
2013Pop Surrealism 5Lacrima Acquium, Rome, ItalyGroup
2013Epionage Miami 2013Harold Golen Gallery, FLGroup
201313th HourLast Rite Gallery, NYCGroup
2013Music to My EarsToy Art Gallery, CAGroup
201320th AnniversaryCopro Gallery, CAGroup
2013Julius Toy Art ShowToy Art Gallery, CAGroup
2013Starting SmallPorter Contemporary, NYGroup
2013REMCopro Gallery, CASolo
2013YHWHToy Art Gallery, CAGroup
20135th Anniversary ShowLast Rite Gallery, NYCGroup
2013Drink to MePorter Contemporary, NYGroup
2013Pop SurealizmOpera Gallery, NYCGroup
2013Painted SoundGallery Nucleus, CAGroup
2013Painted SoundFlower Pepper Gallery, CAGroup
2012AnomaliesCopro Gallery, CAGroup
2012TAG Anniversary ShowToy Art Gallery, CAGroup
2012TabooLast Rite Gallery, NYCGroup
2012Kingdom AnimaliaLand Rover Anaheim Hills, CAGroup
2012Les Enfants TERRIBLE Exhibition IILe Carré - Contemporary Art Space, Bayonne, FranceGroup
2012Mind PortraitCopro Gallery, CASolo
2012Wild At HeartThink Space, CAGroup
2012SuggestivismBold Hype Gallery, NYCGroup
2012A Rolling StonePorter Contemporary, NYCGroup
2012Hey! Modern Art & Pop Culture Art ShowHalle Saint Pierre, Paris, FranceGroup
2011The 13th HourLast Rite Gallery, NYCGroup
2011Jumping Brain CustomToy Art Gallery, CAGroup
2011Genesis to RevelationCopro Gallery, CAGroup
2011A Portrait ApartRaandesk Gallery of Art, NYCGroup
2011UnknownDorothy Circus Gallery, Rome, ItalySolo
2011INLEGallery 1988, CAGroup
2011Dystopia beinArt SurrealCopro Gallery, CAGroup
2011Logistics South Park themeOpera Gallery, NYCGroup
2011LAX-PDXTogether Gallery, ORGroup
2011SuggestivismGrand Central Art Center, CAGroup
2010The 13th HourLast Rite Gallery, NYCGroup
2010Pop Surrealism Last Chance GalleryMondo Bizzarro, Rome, ItalyGroup
2010Super BionicsCopro Gallery, CASolo
2010Pop SurrealismCarandente Museum, Spoleto, ItalyGroup
2010Movers & Shakers IIRonin Gallery, CAGroup
2010Visionary Art GalleryMondo Bizzarro, Rome, ItalyGroup
2010Curiouser & CuriouserGallery Nucleus Group
2009SaturnaliaCopro GalleryGroup
2009UnknownM Modern Gallery Out ThereSolo
2009Overdose Hi-FructoseCopro Nason GalleryGroup
2009SuperschoolCopro Nason GalleryGroup
2009UnknownDavid B. Smith GalleryGroup
2009Movers& ShakersPOVevolving GalleryGroup
2008Good Samaritan'sCopro Nason GalleryGroup
2008Kaiju showHarold Golen GalleryGroup
2008Inside NostalgiaDorothy Circus Gallery, Rome, ItalyGroup
2008UnknownLimited Addiction GalleryGroup
2008Crazy 4 Cult 2Gallery 1988Group
2008Hi FructoseCopro Nason GalleryGroup
2008Crimes on CanvasHard Rock Hotel -Las VegasGroup
2008Gallery Yokai in Your EyeBear and Bird Boutique Group
2008Tiki showM Modern GalleryGroup
2008UnknownDorothy Circus Gallery, Rome, ItalyGroup
2008UnknownLast Rites Gallery, NYCGroup
2008UnknownJoshua Liner Gallery, NYCGroup
2008Mind GardenCopro Nason GallerySolo
2007AnniversaryLimited Addiction GalleryGroup
2007Best of Copro NasonCopro Nason GalleryGroup
2007L.A. Bitter and SweetsGallery 1988Group
2007Halloween ShowWidup GalleryGroup
2007Rome is BurningFoster Gallery, WIGroup
2007The Mushroom ShowBear and Bird - TATE'S ComicsGroup
2007Forgotten LandsLineage GallerySolo
2007Hard Rock ShowHard Rock Hotel -Las VegasGroup
2007ElevationLimited Addiction GalleryGroup
2007Dark Hearts and Broken VowsStrychnin Gallery, NYGroup
2007Return of the Blonde BombshellM Modern Gallery, CAGroup
2007Winter FactionLineage Gallery, PAGroup
2006Operation FragmentationBoMA: Bar of Modern Art, OHGroup
200615 Yeah AnniversaryCopro-Nason Gallery, CAGroup
2006The Cat is out of the hatM Modern Gallery, CAGroup
2006Another World LivingCopro-Nason Gallery, CASolo
2006UPsLineage Gallery, PAGroup
2006GothamM Modern Gallery, CAGroup
2006DECKThe Icehouse, AZGroup
2006The FutureM Modern Gallery, CAGroup
2006JUXTAPOZ 2006OX-OP Gallery, MNGroup
2006Blonde BombshellM Modern Gallery, CAGroup
2006NostradamusCopro-Nason Gallery, CAGroup
2005Blast From The PastM Modern Gallery, CAGroup
2005Samhain PartyCopro-Nason Gallery, CAGroup
2005Identity CrisisLineage Gallery, PAGroup
2005DionysusM Modern Gallery, CAGroup
2005Bergamot InvasionCopro-Nason Gallery, CAGroup
20055 x 5 showHope Gallery, CTGroup
2005TrifectaCopro-Nason Gallery, CAGroup
2005The Eye of the IlluminatiCopro-Nason Gallery, CAGroup
2004The Krampus showCopro-Nason Gallery, CAGroup
2004UnknownBlue Space, Hollywood, CAGroup
2004UnknownECHO Gallery, ILGroup
2004UnknownGallery LE DECO, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2004UnknownFletcher Gallery, Woodstock, NYGroup
2004UnknownHope Gallery, CTGroup
2004UnknownARTBOX Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2003UnknownRocket Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2003UnknownCBGB's Gallery, NYCGroup
2003UnknownPerihelion Arts, Phoenix, AZGroup
2003UnknownSanta Barbara Contemporary Arts Modern Heart, CAGroup
2002UnknownFuse GallerySolo
2002UnknownRoq la Rue Gallery Gods and Monsters, Seattle, WAGroup
2001UnknownSubculture Gallery, NYCGroup
2001UnknownCBGB's Gallery, NYC Group
2001UnknownSubculture Gallery, NYCGroup
2001UnknownSubculture Gallery, NYCGroup
2001UnknownWHC 2001 Art show, SeattleGroup
2001UnknownRoq la Rue Gallery, SeattleGroup
2000UnknownSubculture Gallery, NYCGroup
2000UnknownSubculture gallery, NYCGroup
2000UnknownSubculture Gallery, NYCGroup