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Creativity Explored

Yukari Sakura

Yukari Sakura (b. 1989) works with great focus on what she calls her “very own stories,” gathering inspiration from mythological tales, animated films, and video games. Sakura works primarily with watercolor, colored pencils, and paint, rendering graphic, vibrantly colored illustrations of characters. She also creates animations based on animals and their environments, writing out what she calls “documents” and then basing subsequent drawings off her research.

In another body of work, Sakura pays homage to heroes, daily life, and historical events. She paints vivid portraits of prominent cultural icons like Princess Diana, historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., or the infamous unsolved murder victim, Jon Benét Ramsey. She sometimes pays tribute through less conventional depictions, for example, a TV dinner shaped like a mathematical equation to honor American mathematician John Nash, or two oblong ice cream cakes representing the World Trade Center Twin Towers made in dedication to 9/11.

“I have been drawing since I was 3 years old," Sakura says. "I draw things that I like. I really like all animals. I like foxes, cats, dogs, birds, turtles, and most of all horses. I make stories with the things I draw. My earliest stories were about dinosaurs right after seeing many dinosaur movies. Years later I created more and more stories that I based on movies I had seen. My interest in animals has also led me to make animations based on documents I wrote. For example, my favorite animal, the horse, has a tail that is like a very long brush and then there is the unicorn—who looks like a horse with a horn, has a long mane and a tail that looks like a rag doll’s hair. Turtles and snails carry their houses on their backs. Birds have tails that could look like a fan like a peacock and butterflies their wings are like beautiful 'flower' petals. These are some of things I like to draw in my art.”

Read more about Sakura in this essay, "On Death and Disney," published by Visual Arts Instructor Danielle Wright in Nat. Brut.

Print Bio

Samples of Sakura's work





Selected Exhibitions

2017
Sugar Circus, C + M (Coffee and Milk) War Memorial, San Francisco, CA

2016
Pass Away - Dia de los Muertos Altar, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA
After Pop Life, Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco, CA
Ripe, Creativity Explored Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Yukari Sakura, Mission Pie, San Francisco, CA

2015
TV Dinner: Yukari Sakura and Daniel Green, The Gallery at Ace Hotel New York, New York, NY

2014
Shoerageous, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA
A Curious Menagerie, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA

2013
SIDESHOW, Creativity Explored, San Francisco, CA

2012
Streetopia, Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, CA
ArtPadSF, Phoenix Hotel, San Francisco, CA