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Born in Tokyo, Yui Kugimiya grew up attending a girls' school by day and playing in a band at night — and she had both the private school uniform and the butchered black mohawk to prove it. That kind of discordance can be seen today in her paintings and stop-motion animations, some of which play home to signature cat (imaginary) and bird (modeled after her childhood pet finch) characters and all of which are meant to magnify "what may be behind the surface of what we can see." For example, last year's earthquake and tsunami in Japan. "The major damage it caused revealed many underlying issues that always existed," she says, "but we never paid close enough attention to [them] in our normal pre-earthquake life."
Kugimiya's work hangs in New York's MoMA and the Sagamore Collection in Miami, and she's currently pulling together some pieces for a solo show in at Galeria Enrique Guerrero in Mexico City this fall.
Click through to see more of Yui Kugimiya's work.
Photographed by Tom Hines.