‘A Desk’ by Tetsuya Ishida, 1996.
Though Japanese painter Tetsuya Ishida left this world over a decade ago—a mere month before his 32nd birthday—he left us with a large collection of his surreal paintings to ponder that some speculate support the claim that Ishida’s death was a suicide and not an unfortunate accident.
On May 23rd 2005 Ishida was killed after being run over by a train. The vast majority of Ishida’s paintings reflect the harsh reality of life in Japan that Ishida experienced while growing up—the relentless pressure to reach impossibly high academics standards, the lack of jobs and the fact that Japan during his lifetime held the dubious title of having the highest suicide rates in the world (though Japanese suicide rates have declined in recent years). While Ishida’s story perhaps ended like many of his peers his legacy does provide keen insight into his perception of what life is like in Japan through the eyes of someone who lived through it for a short time. Themes such as isolation and the loss of hope for what the future holds. Often Ishida will incorporate his dead-eyed human subjects into a mechanical apparatus or other tangible everyday objects in an effort to convey the brutal erosion of quality of life in the capitalist system.
Ishida’s work possess the ability to silently and effortlessly express what so many lie sleeplessly thinking about. His paintings are accomplished and hauntingly mesmerizing, reinforcing their importance to be seen. Ishida’s work is the subject of at least two books Tetsuya Ishida Complete and Tetsuya Ishida Posthumous Best Practices. A number of the paintings below are probably NSFW.
‘A man who has lost the ability to fly,’ 1996.
‘A Marketplace,’ 1999.
Untitled work by Ashida done shortly before his death in 2005.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The hallucinogenic Pop artwork of Japanese master Keiichi Tanaami
Anatomical Diagrams of Mythical Japanese Monsters
Godzilla, girls and guns: Color-drenched Japanese sci-fi art