If you ever find yourself able to attend an exhibit for Tokio Aoyama, I would do everything possible to see his art in person.
In the spring of 2012, I was lucky enough to stumble into the Hoxton Gallery in Shoreditch on the way to get my groceries at the Organic Grocer on Kingsland Road. My old London neighborhood at that intersection and the general area near the Shoreditch Triangle can be magical in the art and culture it bestows to everyone on a daily and whimsical basis. Passing by the gallery, I saw glimpses of mega cool in his paintings set in a great vibe, and it pulled me inside. I glided into a procession around the bricked arch Hoxton Gallery soaking in the great art.
Tokio’s paintings have musical themes to them and have rich exacting styles. They feel like surrealist expressions in vivid fantasy settings with jazz, soul, hip-hop, rock, funk, all sorts of musical grooves. Some are mellow, others are adventurous, and when looking close at each painting you can get a strong sense of Tokio’s genius, skillz, depth, and values. His work is truly awe inspiring, and I would welcome a chance to bring him to California as I feel many in the US and especially California would appreciate. I had a chance to talk to him, and he was nothing but gracious, humble, and a genuine bad-ass human being. If there was anyone I would give a proper #madrespect salute to, it would be Tokio Aoyama.
Tokio returned to the Hoxton Gallery for another exhibit called Loop in August 2013. They describe him well:
World-acclaimed, Japanese-born painter Tokio Aoyama creates beautiful, dizzyingly surreal paintings marrying pop culture with the symbolism of modern and traditional Japan. Music is always at the heart of Aoyama’s paintings. Although not a musician himself, Tokio has engaged in various collaborations and friendships with the members of the world-wide music scene, including the ‘Live Painting’ series. The ‘LooP’ exhibits feature numerous heads of the icons of the music world embodied in the psychedelic, mythological landscape of his mystifying paintings.
Those were the best my iPhone 4 at the time could do. Here are some more from across the web.
Those above pics are from Sam Woolfes post about Tokio’s art and exhibit. Go check out his post for a great montage of Tokio’s art. If you could see his paintings up close, you’ll immediately appreciate the precision of his touch, and then stepping back you’ll soak in all the great grooves and the incredible spirit of his imagination.