Drawing comes naturally to Kyoko Imazu, and even more specifically: drawing animals. “Images of animals have always given me pleasure and excitement, and I have always loved drawing animals,” she observed once in an interview with OtherPeoplesPixels. “In fact, I don’t remember any time when I wasn’t drawing animals, even as doodles in textbooks at school or on letters.”
Born in Japan and currently based in Melbourne, Australia, Imazu’s chosen mediums include printmaking, papercut, puppetry, and installation, as well as bookbinding and ceramics, with animal imagery a common thread throughout her work.
Both real and surreal, her illustrations include animals found in Japanese folklore, as well as realistic recreations of insects and rodents. “I like mixing real and mythical animals together because I love imagining what it was like to live in the world before all animals were named and categorized,” says Imazu. “There was a time when rhinos were as fantastical as unicorns.”
According to Imazu, her inspiration comes from stories, as well as memories and myth. “Similarly, I encourage viewers to bring their own memories and associations to my work,” she notes. “They can decide if it’s personal or political.”