Tokyo is a fascinating city that often inspires artwork from all over the world, and Tokyo-based Polish artist Mateusz Urbanowicz is just one of the many artists that have been enchanted with the unique quirks of the city.

When Urbanowicz moved to Tokyo over three years ago, he was surprised to see that much of the city’s stores and restaurants were located in extremely old buildings. In contrast to Kobe, where many of the old buildings were destroyed and rebuilt after the earthquake, an astounding number of them still stand tall in Tokyo today, creating an intriguing atmosphere of old and new in one of the world’s biggest, most advanced metropolises.

Using photos he took as references, Urbanowicz illustrates old Tokyo storefronts in watercolor, and has compiled an illustrated series titled “Tokyo Storefront”. The buildings he paints all exist in real life, and many evoke a feeling of nostalgia for many people who grew up in the city surrounded by similarly old buildings with a vintage feel. His paintings include places such as hair salons, Chinese restaurants, local meat shops, and bicycle shops.

The artist has previously worked on Ghibli-inspired series “Bicycle Boy,” and many more works that can be seen on his website. And if you’re into anime, you can also watch Shunji Iwai’s The Case of Hana and Alice released in 2015, and appreciate the background art done by none other than Urbanowicz!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.