Tomoaki Shibata is a Japanese artist based in Los Angeles. He grew up in Tokyo, Japan, and received his BFA from Musashino Art University. He received a Japanese national grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 2015 for emerging artists. Shibata's work is influenced by anime and manga but also by traditional Japanese Painting as he majored in the art university. He said "Learning Japanese Painting as a major was a successful expectation that it fits my personality.” “Asian primitive materials such as handmade paper, silk, sumi ink, and mineral pigment were organic enough to respond with my natural inspiration.”
Shibata said after he left Japan to the United States, he had to put a lot of effort into discovering his own original materials to be able to paint naturally for his new paintings in the mixed cultural life in Los Angeles, California. For example, his recent works are based on Shiabta's new materials which he buys the jam's pectin powder from a supermarkets’ bakery section to add to acrylic paint. "I use the jammy paint, and finished the paintings while adding a Japanese anime character Ann-pan-man besides my original logo designed H for “Heaving”.
Tomoaki is heavily influenced by manga and animation, "I respect Walt Disney, he globally built his empire having tons of fans like me who love comics, animation, and mice. I chose to draw a Japanese national anime character Ann-pan-man for these paintings but eventually overlapped some Japanese people's faces with the character, such as my coworkers and strangers from my life. In that process, my paintings became showing the familiar cartoon characters overlapping with the real people."
Shibata's current paintings are also reflected by his experience in Japan, "My back-breaking multi part-time jobs in my life in Tokyo were being reflected in my paintings." "While doing those jobs at restaurants, construction sites, and some museums in Tokyo, I was imaginational layering anime characters over real people in front of me like Roger Rabbit when I was snapped due to those jobs' insane tasks like lifting concrete walls at building construction sites by hands without elevators." Living in Los Angles as an artist is another big challenging for Tomoaki as most artists in LA, but Los Angeles is one of the most central places for cultures and arts, "There are so many artists in LA, and I am grateful working with some of the terrific artists, and I will continue working hard and making my own style of paintings... "