Yu Nagaba standing in a garden outside his studio smiling

Yu Nagaba

Historical masterpieces reimagined in line-drawings

“I want to connect my works with the viewer, that’s why I decided to draw all kinds of masterpieces.”

Charming and lively, Yu Nagaba’s line drawings and sculptures transform the past and present. His black and white artworks recreate famous paintings, celebrities and films. These are wide-ranging – from Leonardo da Vinci to Mattise, and even John Travolta dancing. His process is intuitive. He paints lines by hand, creating animated characters and recognisable motifs. His artwork often has themes...

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Yu Nagaba (he/him) was born in 1976 in Tokyo, Japan, where he continues to live and work.


In 2022, Yu Nagaba teamed up with Uniqlo and the Musee du Louvre to illustrate masterworks on t-shirts. He especially loved working on his version of the Mona Lisa (1503) by Leonardo da Vinci – one of his most loved artists.


Nagaba listens to music while drawing. He listens to various genres of music, but one of his all time favourites is 1990s UK trip-hop band, Massive Attack.

Collaborations with Yu Nagaba

Avant Arte and Yu Nagaba have one upcoming collaboration.