‘The Great Circus’ is a Series of Unseen Works by Tokyo’s Underground Cult Artist Tomoo Gokita
- Ashleigh Kim
You might recognize Tomoo Gokita‘s decorative drawings peppered across the pages of art books, magazines, and international exhibits from Tokyo to New York City, as well as the artist’s own publications; impressive accolades that have achieved the Japanese author a cult-like status among the art world, mainly finding residence in various indie music, zine, and 1990s subcultures of the underground Tokyo scene.
Immersed in the ever-fluid, often overlapping worlds of fashion, music, and art, the Tokyo-born graphic artist-by-training draws from a variety of influences to make up his “gouache” paintings–also known as opaque watercolor work. His series of avant-garde, surrealist black-and-white illustrations drown classic motifs like Western cowboys, American pin-up girls, macho athletes, noir detectives and gangsters in greyscale paintings with dramatic contrast. And, of course, there’s boobs. Lots of them.
The Japanese art veteran made a vehement return in his 2014 volume The Great Circus, essentially a master catalogue of Gokita-san’s previously exhibited watermedia paired with never-before-seen work. The book was launched in conjunction with Gokita’s impressive 90-piece exhibition at Japan’s Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art.
The 144-page hardcover book is Gokita’s first project in 15 years since releasing his debut publication Lingerie Wrestling, and is now available for purchase for ¥2,800 (approximately $25 USD).