Cumbria

Japanese artist Junko Mizuno's 'gothic-cute' art on show in Cumbria

Ovum Snake Mother by Junko Mizuno Image copyright Junko Mizuno
Image caption Junko Mizuno has been a professional artist for more than 20 years

A leading Japanese artist has been teaching British students the style of Manga ahead of an exhibition of her work.

Junko Mizuno's pieces are being shown at the University of Cumbria and she will appear at the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival in Kendal.

The region has a long-standing popularity with Japanese visitors.

Ms Mizuno said she wanted to show the students "that they can stay true to themselves, everyone's different".

Third year illustration undergraduate, Noelë Krehbiel, said it was inspiring to hear from an artist who had not attended art school.

"Seeing her work and meeting her has showed me that, no matter how weird your art is, there will always be someone out there who loves it," she said.

"Her work brings together influences from both Japanese and western cultures and she thinks so far out of the box."

Comic Cue cover by Junko Mizuno Image copyright Junko Mizuno
Image caption Junko Mizuno designed this year's Lakes International Comic Arts Festival poster

Ms Mizuno, who grew up in Tokyo but now lives in San Francisco, is recognised for her Manga-style, "gothic-cute" representation of women, sometimes known as Gothic ka-waii or kawaii noir.

She has also collaborated with Swedish furniture store IKEA.

Senior lecturer in visual culture Nick Dodds said her style was "truly unique".

"[She] draws from a heady and varied mix of cutesy horror, sexuality and pop ephemera, moving seamlessly between commercial illustration and fine-art practices," he said.

Jigoku Dayu by Jinko Mizuno Image copyright Jinko Mizuno
Image caption Junko Mizuno's inspiration includes fetish art, folk art, advertising, vintage toys and fashion
Artist Junko Mizuno and senior lecturer Dwayne Bell Image copyright University of Cumbria
Image caption Artist Junko Mizuno and senior lecturer Dwayne Bell
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The exhibition at the university's Vallum Gallery is open until 25 October and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal runs until Sunday.

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