Illustrator Jose Mertz Revives Monsters from Japanese Mythology

Japanese mythological creatures get a second life in Jose Mertz’s artworks.

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Apr 16 2017, 12:10pm

Images courtesy of the artist.

Inspired by Japanese supernatural beings from the Edo period and the clean aesthetic of Zen, artist Jose Mertz creates a nice balance between illustrative imagery and space. He recreates mythological and spiritual figures using pastel palettes and fluid shapes.

Mertz's works put a new spin on yokai, supernatural beings from Japanese folklore who were popularized in the 18th century through the mass production of Toriyama Sekien's illustrated texts. Although this type of folklore nearly disappeared with the rise of the Western presence in Japan, works like Mizuki Shigeru's comic Gegege no Kitaro and Shiibashi Hiroshi's The Yokai Clan.

Mertz's works range from drawings and paintings to murals and tattoos. Sticking to flowy shapes, he aims to imbue a sense of constant change and motion to his characters. "The fluidity of the forms tends to lean towards the idea that nothing in nature has a harsh straight edge," Mertz tells Creators. "Even in stagnant things like sand or rock are gradually changing with the elements. I like to echo these ideas when drawing guardians, heroes and supernatural beings."

Click here to see more work by Jose Mertz.

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