Naoto Hattori is a visual artist from Yokohama whose works leave viewers wide-eyed with surprise. Rabbits, cheetahs, unicorns, and other real and mythological creatures become unrecognizable in his paintings. Their outlandishly oversized eyes, crystal clear with a muted iris, reflect an outline of the scene around them like a miniature oil painting.
Though he doesn’t work with specific subjects or themes, Hattori relies on art to depict emotions that he’s unable to convey through words alone. “I want to dedicate these works the emotions I felt when making them,” he says. “I want to express myself through these imaginary animals.”
端看日本横滨艺术家 Naoto Hattori 的作品，你会觉得诧异。兔子、猎豹、独角兽……那些你熟悉万分的动物们忽然变得陌生：它们被画上了巨大到夸张的眼睛，晶体透彻澄明，虹膜却色彩纷繁，像玻璃般倒映着油画一般的剪影。
An animal lover, Hattori has a thirteen-year-old dachshund. “I take pictures and videos of my dog every day, but I don’t often paint him,” he says. He portrays the expressions of these creatures more graphically by leaving behind human thoughts and feelings and imitating the experience of animals.
“They can open their eyes to look at the viewer,” Hattori says. Gazing at these creatures gazing back at you is an odd and compelling experience. “Maybe the painting itself sees you as a strange creature. You each become something that can exist.”
作为一个动物爱好者，Naoto 自己拥有一只 13 岁的腊肠犬。“我每天都拍很多狗的照片和视频，但不太画它们。” Naoto 说，通过模仿鸟类和野兽的感受，并抛弃人之为人的想法与感受，就可以更直观地描绘出画布上动物的神态。
He explains: “Once you pick up and look at these fragments of my subconscious feelings and jumbled memories, the images become something that exists within your mind. When I portray them through my own ‘filter,’ giving them life through painting, anyone can see them. They take on a visible form.”
Hattori doesn’t often paint from his dreams, but whenever he sees something strange in his sleep he quickly makes a note, which might then serve as the foundation of a future painting. He says the process of conceiving a work can expand his view on the world. “I’m interested in the mysterious, unfathomable questions—life and death, the meaning of existence, the flow of consciousness,” he explains. “There’s a sense of mystery to the ancient cave paintings, idolatry, enormous archeological ruins that have stood the test of time. Back then artists were like the genome, leaving their works for future generations.”
Naoto 说他很少画下自己的梦境，但每当他在梦中见到奇怪的场景时，就会尽快写下备忘然后以此为基础作画，而整个构思的过程就会扩大他的世界观。“我对人类根本无法理解的未知领域感兴趣——生与死，存在的意义，意识的流动。”Naoto 说道，“古老的洞穴壁画、神像和考古遗迹经受了时间的洗礼，充满了神秘感。那个时代的艺术家像基因图谱一样，将作品留给一代代人。”
Hattori wants people to view his works from multiple perspectives. “I don’t have a need to be universally loved, so I’m very happy if just a few people who see the world as I do can understand my art. I’m constantly creating new works, which then travel the world and end up in someone else’s hands. Even though I’m at one end of the world, my paintings can spread out to the four corners of the earth. My art is a proclamation of life, a testament to my existence in the now. That’s what motivates me to create.”
Contributor: Chen Yuan
Chinese Translation: Allen Young