Saturday, December 25, 2021

Yoshitaka Amano

Hello readers! Long time no see!

I've been wondering lately on what topics I should cover but have found one which is pretty cool.

I have been sifting through old pictures I saved on my computer (from over 10 years ago!) and came across some amazing paintings. These are paintings by Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano.

Yoshitaka Amano is best known for his concept artwork/designs for the roleplaying video game 'Final Fantasy', although he has also worked on other notable productions.

Amano was born on March 26, 1952 in Shizuoka, Japan. In his early artistic career (1960's-70's) he worked on animes like 'Speed Racer' and 'Gatchaman' while being influenced by the art of traditional Western-style comic books. As time went on he was hired to design and paint fantasy and science fiction artworks.

During the late 80's to mid 90's Amano was a concept & character designer for the popular Final Fantasy video games (The Final Fantasy series, according to Wikipedia, is one of the best selling video game series of all time). Not only did he work on all of the logos, but he also designed the main characters and enemies for many of the games.

What made Amano's work stand out from other artists of the time was that his style incorporated Art Nouveau and elements of Fantasy art. Amano's lines are delicate, with colors of gold amid muted and soft tones. His female portraits show elaborate jewelry and ornamentation, almost as if they are princesses...and the men resemble knights, with fantastical armor and weaponry. You can tell Amano takes a slight inspiration and nod to Gustav Klimt with the gold accents in his art and a tribute to the Art Nouveau genre with the costumes and outfits he designs.

His personal style was in contrast to the big-eyed cartoon style of the time. Instead of drawing large shiny pupils, the eyes of his subjects come across as demure and soft, some of the figures looking as if they had just woken up from a long sleep.

 In addition to working on video games and animation, Amano also collaborated with famed writer Neil Gaiman on one of his Sandman comic book series. The collaboration earned him several awards and a nomination for the Science Fiction/Fantasy Hugo award.

Amano has produced many art books which collect his designs and paintings. These books span a period of over 20 years of his art and are a window into the brilliant work of a very talented man.

I hope you all will enjoy these pictures, as much as I have re-discovering them!

All images are (c) to Yoshitaka Amano/Respectful owners

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