Atsushi Kaga

Atsushi Kaga | Japan | "Usacchi and friends with electronic epuipment" | 2010 | 172 cm x 172 cm | Acrylic on canvas

Sad pandas, cheeky rabbits, clever tigers, countless laptops and a tired superhero – the comic-like pictures of Atsushi Kaga, who was born in Tokyo in 1978 and now lives in New York, are teeming with whimsical figures the artist has, in a naive and child-like language of form, woven into a humorous rug of images for his work “Usacchi and friends with electronic equipment”, specially created for Montblanc. Inspired by the Japanese manga culture and the world of modern toys and electronics, in his drawings, sculptures and animations Kaga uses his rascally cast of characters to tell quite profound stories about personal experiences and the quest for cultural identity. They are led by the artist’s alter ego, the “Usacchi” character, a lovable but mischievous rabbit, and his buddy “Kumacchi”, a drug-addicted bear injured in a car accident. Together, they smoke, drink and philosophise about life. Thus Kaga, who studied at the Tama Art Institute in Tokyo and, until 2005, at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, produces a world of images that are colourful but not idyllic – upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that his figures are only-too-human personalities who live their destiny and act as mouthpieces for the artist’s earnest messages.