Makiko Kudo

Blending memory and imagination to create serene, contemplative dreamscapes.

Makiko Kudo was born in 1978 in Aomori, Japan, and now lives and works in Kanagawa, Japan.

At Auction

Her original work has been offered at auction on several occasions, with sale prices ranging from $6,137 to $29,302 USD.

Practice

Kudo prefers to focus her attention on one large painting at a time, with each on taking around 10 days to complete.

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

Makiko Kudo’s whimsical scenes are populated by girls, trees, grass, flowers and small animals. Her palette is soft but varied, built up in thin layers of oil paint. The works are inspired by modernist painters like Claude Monet and Willem de Kooning, as well as classical Japanese art, and childhood television shows like Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974). Stylistically, the manga-esque figures join the Superflat movement spearheaded by Takashi Murakami. The social context of growing up in Japan is also important to Kudo. As she explains, her generation sought to resist rigid social expectations of their parents' generation. This was intensified by the rise of alternate realities like cartoons and computer games, providing escapism from the ‘real world.’ Likewise, Kudo’s paintings proffer an exciting fantasy realm for their viewer to escape into.

Notions of childhood are central to Kudo’s oeuvre. Her youthful figures are depicted wrapped in daydreams far from the constraints of adult life, expressed in idyllic, hazy atmospheres. This is accentuated by Kudo’s use of depth and scale. In Becoming a Field (2014), for example, a girl with a squirrel on her knee appears giant-like, floating in the composition as if untethered from gravity and, by extension, reality itself. Thus, the paintings wield nostalgia: aspiring for the freedom of youth, yet marred by the wisdom of hindsight. Occupying a world of quiet tensions, Kudo’s paintings explore the co-existence of melancholy and peace, youth and maturity, reality and imagination.

"I finish when I feel that there is no room for another brushstroke." Makiko Kudo