Āto Naoki Interview @ IMAGES IN FRAMES

The leading art gallery and picture framer in East London

  • Jasmina
  • July 22, 2024

Āto Naoki is the newest artist to join us at Images In Frames, we are very excited to welcome him to our walls!

Āto is an emerging artist who recreates the traditional art of Japanese woodblocks by incorporating contemporary characters and references into his pieces. Produced in their many thousands and hugely popular during the Edo period (1615 – 1868), colourful woodblock prints, known as Ukiyo-e, depict scenes from everyday Japan.  Naoki uses these scenes as a backdrop for his new artwork, for example, placing the characters from the video game Street Fighter on a traditional woodblock print of a Japanese street.

I wanted to speak to Āto to find out more about his creative process, this is what I learnt:


What is your artistic background?

ATO – I have been creating these works for around 3 years now. Before lockdown I was living abroad and working in the tourism industry, once COVID hit I wasn’t able to do that anymore. My father is a painter and I always thought that one day I would follow in his footsteps, having so much free time enabled me to pursue this passion.


How would you describe your style of art?

ATO – Japanese style meets modern. I take things that remind me of my childhood such as characters from manga and anime and use this nostalgia, and love of Japanese culture, to create new pieces.


How do you create your artworks?

ATO – I start with Ukiyo-e artworks- these are famous Japanese artworks that are about 300-400 years old, I find this style very inspiring. After finding a base I use a graphic tablet and Photoshop to add these modern manga, anime and comic book characters on top, this creates a whole new scene.


You supply these prints pre-framed, why is that?

ATO – I am replicating the traditional Japanese woodblock style, so it’s important to keep it looking authentic. Once I finish the artwork my partner screen-prints it onto wood, when that is done I build the frame using the same wood and place the woodblock inside of the frame, leaving a little gap. I build the frames using a technique my father taught me.


What do these characters that you reference in your work mean to you?

ATO – I find myself being very inspired by childhood and nostalgia, these are shows and comics that I loved as a child and still bring me joy. It’s important to me that my artworks are centred around the most important part of the story, the scene that every fan will recognise.


Thank you to Āto for taking the time to speak to us, we couldn’t be happier to have this size print exclusive to us.


To view more of Āto’s artworks, please click here.

Leave a Reply