Yoshitaka Amano is a very popular illustrator who is famous for designing many of the character portraits and cover arts of the Final Fantasy video game saga, and a few well-known manga and western comic books such as Vampire Hunter D and Neil Gaiman’s award-winning The Sandman: The Dream Hunters. While his vision is far from that of other fucked up artists, a few of his lesser-known works can be compared to the eerie portrait art of Takato Yamamoto.
Amano was born in 1952 near Shizuoka, Japan, and got his first illustration job for an animation company at the young age of 15 – his career today spans well over 50 years of drawing. He is known for creating whimsical, dream-like scenarios which leave the observer wondering about the untold story of its characters. And while some of these stories are told in the games and books his characters were created for, there are hundreds that still leave us wonder.
Animals are a recurring theme in many of Amano’s works. While male characters are usually depicted riding a horse, women are often drawn naked and embraced by a snake, which acts as a “dress” for them. Other animals appear in similar roles: panthers, rhinos, fantastic beasts. These are to be seen as an extension of the character rather than an addition to her. The woman’s pose and facial expression is always serene, static – in the same fashion as Takato Yamamoto’s dark serendipity. But this peaceful exterior is just a façade for the internal, more chaotic state of mind of the character, depicted by the wildlife around her which can break free from these rules of non-movement: the beasts are dynamic, sometimes even aggressive. If the lady’s eyes are closed, theirs will be fiercely staring at you, as if they were preparing to jump at you at any time.