Kyoko Imazu Imagines a World Where Insects and Rodents Rule

Artist Kyoko Imazu works in a range of mediums that include printmaking, papercut, puppetry, and installation, as well as bookbinding and ceramics. Born in Japan and currently based in Melbourne, her work is regularly exhibited both nationally and internationally, in places like Hong Kong, New Zealand, and New York.

Whatever her chosen medium, her subjects tend to be the same, centering around our often-overlooked neighbors. Insects, rodents, and other small creatures inhabit her work, creating a universe of their own with its own histories and mythologies. Combining her own memories with the stories of these tiny overlooked creatures, Imazu tries to make sense of the world we live in and imagine the worlds we cannot see with our own eyes.

“Images of animals have always given me pleasure and excitement, and I have always loved drawing animals,” she told OtherPeoplesPixels. “In fact, I don’t remember any time when I wasn’t drawing animals, even as doodles in textbooks at school or on letters.”

Her etchings, artist books, and cut-paper installations are equally populated with real animals and legendary creatures from Japanese folklore, adding a layer of fantasy to her otherwise realistic renderings. “I like mixing real and mythical animals together because I love imagining what it was like to live in the world before all animals were named and categorized,” she notes. “There was a time when rhinos were as fantastical as unicorns.”

“I draw ideas and inspirations from memories and stories,” she adds. “Similarly, I encourage viewers to bring their own memories and associations to my work. They can decide if it’s personal or political.” We encourage you to do just that: