“Too many refrigerated seasonings” (2023) | all images courtesy the artist

The painter Yuka Kasai hails from Sapporo, where she studied art at Sapporo Otani University. Her seemingly minimalist style is inspired both by her concentration in traditional nihonga-style painting, but also an animist view of the world, deeply rooted in Japan’s native belief system, Shinto.


“Do not believe it” (2023)

Working primarily with natural pigments and sumi ink, the 30-year old artist creates minimalist paintings reminiscent of the masterful works from hundreds of years ago. But rather than depicting the mountainous landscapes and natural flora of Japan, Kasai focuses her attention on the banality of everyday life.

“I believe that all things on the planet are imbued with an equivalent soul,” says the artist, explaining that her paintings are inspired by simple and trivial moments–ones that usually go overlooked–when she suddenly becomes aware of those souls.

Indeed, the devotion and attention to detail of each scene has the effect of elevating the still life to a higher status. The playfulness and sense of humor of each only adds to this narrative. In “Do not believe it,” a pack of natto has been left opened with numerous failed attempts at opening the packaged condiments.

Kasai’s work was on view earlier this month at Art Fair Tokyo 2023. You can keep up with the artist on Twitter or Instagram.

“Mountain in the kitchen” (2023)

“Mountain in the living room” (2023)

Yuka Kasai’s work, recently on display at Art Fair Tokyo 2023