Contemporary Japanese pop artist, Yusuke Toda, has hit the global art market with a fantastic flurry of consistently sold-out shows throughout Tokyo, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. The 31-year-old artist who trained as an assistant to one of the world’s most important Japanese artists, Takashi Murakami, and then later to painter sensation Tomokazu Matsuyama, is making his American debut at Morton Contemporary Gallery.


In Yusuke Toda’s most recent body of work, everything depicted is framed by a central character named "YUM". YUM expresses how we, the viewer in his or her purest form, and the environment around us, naturally live freely in harmony with one another. The environs of YUM’s world (and YUM himself) are exclusively monochromatic with pops of color through which the artist depicts the positive, hopeful aspects of life against the black and white immutable properties of mortal existence. The black and white universe YUM inhabits takes inspiration from mass culture in all its forms (cartoons, film, fashion, classic children’s books, fairytales) to create an inviting dreamscape of blissful childhood memory and fantasy. But beneath that bliss, is the hand of an artist who remembers all too well not just the beauty of being a child, but the concomitant pain. The artist was an only child in a home without a TV, and parents who both worked late into the night. To forget his loneliness, he began at a very young age to paint and create “super happy worlds in order to disconnect from sadness and the true realities of what it means to be a human and survive many hardships.” Within every painting, Yusuke connects with his child-self through what he describes as his alter-ego -- the typically alone, but happy character of YUM who naturally carries the artist forward, moving him around his canvas effortlessly with the limitless mind of his former child self.