Illuminated Paintings of Tokyo After Dark by Keita Morimoto

After Dark, 2021, acrylic and oil on linen, 4860×2273 mm | all images courtesy the artist

The element of light has fascinated us for centuries. Artists from the classical and baroque periods used light to imbue their paintings with grandeur, dramatism and sometime the sacred. For contemporary artist Keita Morimoto, light illuminates his nondescript street scenes of Tokyo, except his sources of light are vending machines, fast food restaurants, electric signs in parking lots and other symbols of consumerist society.

Tobacco Shop, 2021, acrylic and oil on linen, 1620×1303 mm

Born in Osaka in 1990, Keita Morimoto first began to paint the age of 16 when he moved to Canada. He received his BFA from Ontario College of Art & Design in 2006 and continued to work and exhibit in Toronto, depicting the nocturnal life of his adopted city. Now, after 15 years, he’s returned to Tokyo where he is showcasing an ambitious and large-scale body of work collectively titled “After Dark.”

“His nighttime scenes purposefully evade iconic symbols that could be used to identify them as specific locations,” explains Kotaro Nukaga, the Tokyo gallery where Morimoto is showing. “Overlooked corners within the blindingly bright Tokyo cityscape, local train stations with few passengers, and familiar hilltops that you swear you’ve seen before somewhere but can’t remember where.”

In this way, Morimoto transforms the ordinary and the familiar into the unique and special, a reminder to all that it is up to us to define how we perceive our surrounding environment. “After Dark” is on view at Kotaro Nukaga Gallery in Tokyo through December 25, 2021.

Last Train, 2021, acrylic and oil on linen, 1940×1620 mm

Searching For Home, 2021, acrylic and oil on linen, 1940×1620 mm

At Dawn, 2021, acrylic and oil on linen, 1620×1303 mm

Bathing Light, 2021, acrylic and oil on linen, 1940×1620 mm

Installation view: Kotaro Nukaga Gallery

Installation view: Kotaro Nukaga Gallery

Installation view: Kotaro Nukaga Gallery


  1. I wish I could fly to Tokyo just to see these paintings. I have been to Tokyo MANY times and miss it very much. These paintings evoke so many memories for me. Something I’ve tried to capture in photos but never can. How beautiful.

  2. Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing.

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