The big, never-ending universe and all its questions has been a focal point for many creatives since, well… the dawn of mankind. Since our introduction to this world, we’ve been fascinated by the big void above us, and it has since sparked many forms of creativity over the eras, some with more of a philosophical intent, others purely as a form of art. For Japanese artist and illustrator Shusei Nagaoka, space travel, alien beings, the theory of the intertwining of both our world and others, and all the in-between has been something that Nagaoka has focused on in his art. His style is reminiscent to what you would see more often from retro years; a mix of animation and realism, filled with detail yet not complex to the eye.

In 1991, Nakaoka had his artwork sent up into space via Russia’s ‘Mir’ space station – a feat not many can brag about.

It’s a style that has been revered by many during Nagaoka’s time, which landed him prominent gigs, many of which he’s now made famous for. It was during the ’80s and ’90s when Nagaoka’s skill was lent to grace the covers of some of that time periods greatest music bands. His formidable clients list includes the likes of Deep Purple, Earth, Wind & Fire, Electric Light Orchestra, George Clinton, Kitaro, Rose Royce, Caldera, and Pure Prairie League. And that’s just within music. You’ll also find Nagaoka’s work in past issues of Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler.

But perhaps the most rewarding of his accomplishments (which we’re assuming here) is when his artwork was sent up to the very place he pulls most of his inspiration from; in 1991, Nakaoka had his artwork sent up into space via Russia’s ‘Mir’ space station – a feat not many can brag about. Check out a few selects of his amazing work throughout.

shusei-nagaoka-art-2-1