A mashup of traditional Japanese ghost symbology, hip-hop retro-futurism, and urban street couture finds its way in the illustrations of 199hates. The Argentina-based visual artist, a.k.a., Mau Lencinas, focuses on illustrations, character designs, and 2D animations. An avid watcher of 90s Japanese TV shows, Lencinas began to draw early on in his childhood. Now, mostly inspired by Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo and the urban style of our nascent neo-modern era, 199hates creates a series of demonic gangsters bearing kanji symbols, and crews of demon hunters adapted from Japanese traditional folklore.
His illustrations offer a deep-dive into the dark streets of a Tokyo dystopia filled with bikers, katanas, and dragons. Reminiscent of the future-punk characters of Gorillaz artist Jamie Hewlett, 199hates’ Red Gangs series offers a window into a twisted world of old school and futuristic gangster culture. In order to add realism to the gangs, 199hates even goes so far as to make their outfits make them parody iconic brands. “I asked myself 'what is going to happen if my characters start to interact more with the reality, because they are fictional?'” Lencinas tells The Creators Project. “In some certain way, people feel identified with that.”
His most recent series, Demon Hunters, casts saturated colors and red skin tones aside, in favor of a much darker world of ghosts, yōkai, obake, yūrei, and other legendary mythological creatures. The protagonists are a crew of demons hunters balancing between real and paranormal world in order to keep the peace between the human race and the dark world. Check out more of 199hates' works below:
Click here to see more work from 199hates.