Japanese artist Hikari Shimoda is known for her unique children portraits which combine cute aesthetics with horrifying themes, creating a somewhat alarming image. Through these images, Shimoda aims to address contemporary struggles in modern-day society. “For me, this is my most effective means to convey my emotions and feelings to other people,” she explained in an interview with We Heart.
Her characters, depicted as starry-eyed children dressed in superhero costumes are only part human. “They are not ‘human’ children,” stressed Shimoda. “I like to use the example of magical girls (shojo) because they are inspired by human girls but they are characters.”
“Magical girl” is a subgenre of Japanese manga and anime which features girls who use magic or possess magical powers. This motif ties in with Shimoda’s overall aesthetics which is directly inspired by Japanese manga and anime. “My father was interested in anime and Manga, and he introduced me to the Studio Ghibli animated movies when I was a child,” she notes.
You can Shimoda’s work in exhibitions around the world, including Japan, the United States, Canada, and Europe, as well as online, via Instagram.