What I love about art is that there are endless ways to create it. As an artist, you aren’t limited to just one medium. Mixed media is an intriguing art form in which artists use different media and materials to create visual art. For example, it can incorporate cloth, wood, or paper to create art forms such as collages, recycling, or journaling. One mixed media artist that I admire is Sei Shimura, whose work portrays conceptual mixed media art in a contemporary design.
About Sei Shimura
Mr. Shimura is based in Los Angeles and his work ranges from art direction, branding, print, illustration, apparel design, and graphics. Since graduating from Pratt Institute, he mastered his skill set using vibrant colors with a wide range of mixed materials. After living in different major cities, he became interested in pop culture references. He received the award for top designer at Tokyo’s Designer week and has collaborated with notable brands such as Mattel and the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Sei Shimura’s Artwork
Shimura’s artwork reflects current cultural trends including topics such as capitalism and consumerism while incorporating a humorous take on political issues. By combining his design background with his appreciation for contemporary art, he offers a fresh perspective on current cultural norms. In the pieces below, you’ll see how he uses mediums like spray paint, neon lights, and resin wood to make a bold statement.
In his work of art, “Maneki Neko,” Shimura used vibrant spray paint on resin wood to depict a traditional Maneki Neko cat. These figurines, which originated in Tokyo, are meant to bring good luck to the owner. This beckoning cat is used in hopes of gaining a fortune, and they’re often kept in homes and offices to summon wealth. This is one interesting example of our fascination with money and material things.
In this piece, titled “Free Money,” Shimura created a collage on a wood panel with resin, and neon lights in an acrylic casing. Despite its name, this collage shows two hands shackled. Within the hands, we see many dollar bills, suggesting money is not free after all. Not only do the neon lights add a pop of color, but they emphasize the focus of this piece.
The painting above is entitled “Franklin.” At first glance, the spray paint makes this look like a vibrant piece of pop art. Look closer and you’ll see Benjamin Franklin peeking through in green. This is another subtle but striking way in which Shimura alludes to the prominence of capitalism behind the scenes. In addition to the suggested message, this piece is sure to capture your attention right away.
Counting paper, Filthy Rich
In “Counting paper, Filthy Rich,” we really see Shimura’s humor come into play. With Count Dracula symbolizing the obsession with money and material gain, it still feels light-hearted. Drawing a familiar character from a children’s show may make the message more palatable. It also shows his nostalgic approach to his work.
Though Sei Shimura’s pieces touch on relatively heavy concepts, he presents them in a way that encourages further discussion. Plus, I can’t help but admire the creative way in which he uses his materials to simplify such complex ideas. He catches our attention with the vibrant imagery first and keeps us invested in the story. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a look at his artistic interpretations.
If you share my interest in pop art, be sure to check out our articles on Patrick Rubenstein or David Spiller’s work.