Daruma dolls are considered good luck charms in Japanese culture, and they are often given as gifts of encouragement, or bought as emotional support during times when an individual is in want of some luck on their side.

Although traditional daruma dolls are bright red, artists have been known to get creative with their own, more “modernized” versions of them. A Japanese artist who goes by the name of Yamabiko Art is one such person. Formerly a graffiti artist, Yamabiko Art combines the artistic elements of graffiti and fuses it with the dolls, creating masterpieces that are both traditional and refreshingly new at the same time.

Yamabiko Art’s daruma dolls were created after the idea of mixing graffiti with wa, or Japan. By combining these two aspects, the hope was to remind Japanese people of the incredibly deep and complex culture they live in, and to remember to fully appreciate it.

Many of these graffiti daruma dolls are available at department stores in Japan, as well as at Yamahibiki-Ya, a store run by Yamabiko Art located in Fukuoka Prefecture. They will also be displayed at the TAV GALLERY in Tokyo from June 25th to July 2nd, along with many other artworks.

The theme of the exhibition is kankotsu dattai, which can be described as taking the ideas and styles of our ancestors and add something new to it, thus achieving a novel, unique form of expression. Needless to say, all of Yamabiko Art’s works stay true to this theme, and the daruma dolls are just some of the many striking masterpieces borne from the creativity of this fascinating artist.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.