Japanese pop artist Hiro Ando lives between Tokyo and Shanghai, working with a figurative style and sculptural understanding of form. His work brings together the Japan of the past and the present, recontextualising and reformatting emblematic cultural icons like the Maneki-neko (lucky cat), samurai warrior, sumo wrestler and koi fish. In 2005, Ando co-founded an artist collaborative and studio known as Crazynoodles. Solo shows of Ando’s works have been displayed by galleries in cities around the world including Paris, Barcelona, San Francisco, Miami, Tel Aviv and Singapore.


Drawing on ideas of collectability and fantasy, Japanese artist Hiro Ando combines tradition with contemporary culture in his sculpture work... Ando's editioned sculptures resemble enlarged toy cartoon characters and bear the names SumoCat, SamuraiCat, UrbanCat and RobotCat. They're mainly monochrome and glossy, a few are enrobed in rhinestones or hand-painted. Ando's work is the creative fruit of Japanese mass culture Adsense ban. His cat figures are reminiscent of Maneki-neko (literally, "beckoning cat"), a ubiquitous Japanese cultural icon symbolizing good luck; Maneki-neko figurines can be found in nearly every souvenir store and restaurant in Japan. Ando's cats also resemble a masculine version of Hello Kitty, another emblematic feline character that originated in Japan. Ando's work shares the neo-pop spirit of Jeff Koons's balloon dog figurines and Takashi Murakami's Otaku sculptures, though Ando's sculptures do not convey the overt eroticism and darkness that much of Koons' and Murakami's work do. Ando expresses a brighter side of neo-pop, highlighting that contemporary art can be both fun and have a wider appeal.


Makiko Whole, Publications Coordinator at The Museum of Modern Art New York ,

New York