Face-painting you won't find at a children's party

Aug 21, 2014

An artist in Japan says she wants to challenge people's prejudices with surreal artwork that is drawn on bodies and faces. Video: Reuters

One Japan-based artist has become an Internet hit with her surreal take on body and face painting.

In one stop-motion clip of her work, a woman's neck seems to be sliced open to reveal the insides of a lemon. In another, a woman's cheek is peeled back to reveal an orange pulp.

These are the works of 21-year-old Hikaru Cho, a Chinese national who's lived all her life in Japan, who is also a third-year student at Musashino Art University in Tokyo.

"It all began when I wanted to paint something at home and I looked around for something to paint on. I couldn't be bothered to look hard so I used my hand and painted an eye on it. That turned out to be be quite freaky, so I took a picture and when I showed that to people they were very shocked - more shocked than I thought would be possible," Cho told Reuters in a class room at her university.

Also called 'hyper-real' art, it caught the eye of Amnesty International, who used it in a global campaign for sexual and reproductive rights.

As a Chinese national living in Japan, Cho said she was frustrated about people's preconceived ideas of her, based on her nationality.

Through her artwork, she says, Cho hopes to encourage people to look beyond the "surface"

"People tend to judge others just by their appearances, the colour of their skin, their eyes. I think that is really stupid. So I create these pieces of work with a message to others that not all is what it seems on the surface," she said.

Cho says she chose to pour her feelings into her artwork.

"Rather than shout and complain about one's experiences or the pain of discrimination, I prefer to express this through my art work and reach all sorts of people," she said.

Her work has also attracted several commercial companies, that have used her painting skills as a unique way of illustrating their products. Her work can be found at www.hikarucho.com


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