The work of Keiichi Tanaami feels like a scream in the face. It is work that gets your attention and keeps it. It pulls you in with an intense casserole of color and keeps you looking for more with a fat pile of interesting and often disturbing detail. It is coffee for your eyeballs.
Tanaami comes out of a post-war Japan having worked since the 60’s in a multitude of media including printed work, paintings, sculpture, and animation. He was 9 when bombs hit his home city of Tokyo during the Air Raids of WWII. His work is often very psychedelic and surreal. Some of his most recent work has various animated pop-icons like Astro Boy, Pop-Eye, Mickey Mouse, and Betty Boop making regular, deranged appearances. Much of his work is very layered – where individual characters and objects are relatively flat, but he creates depth with his arrangement and detail. There are main pieces of subject matter, but there is always a barrage of smaller scenes and stories happening around it. Some of his work blends his intense detailed work with collaged images which often serve to break up the fierceness of his work and helps to make it feel like a more relaxed, but still quite intense. He labels both the war and a near death experience with a pulmonary edema as big influences in his work. He has worked in print, paint, animation, and furniture design. He has been a professor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design since 1991.
I first came across his work when another artist I follow on Instagram (I don’t recall whom) posted a picture of his work. Below is a mix of his work but only a small representation. I suggest checking out his website and searching his name on youtube to see more of his animations.