Japanese Artist Inspired By His Cats Paints the Most Epic Portraits

A Japanese contemporary artist is winning love on social media for turning cats into royalties in their oil paintings.

Tokuhiro Kawai, a surrealist, draws inspiration from the Renaissance style of painterly technique, using fantastical elements to convey dream-like visuals.

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

“Kawai approaches work on the now fragile bond between story and picture to bring the two into reunion. Since gods and faith are less related to our modern society, Kawai complements the theme with his own imagination,” the artist’s Gallery Gyokuei page reads. “Kawai’s painting is always an illustration without chapters with classical technique portraying a story of modern lives.”

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According to The Great Cat, Kawai’s favorite subject is cats, where he “represents them as gods and conquerors who are sometimes power hungry.”

Kawai was first inspired by his cat Piko, a mixed breed cat that was similar to a Scottish Fold, he told NextShark. Kawai had Piko when he was 17 to 36, with the cat living a total of 19 years, “a long life for a cat,” he said.

A representation of Kawai’s cat, Piko. Photo courtesy of Tokuhiro Kawai

Kawai also had a second cat named Chiko, who lived to 16 years old. Piko and Chiko were the only two cats Kawai has ever owned. Sadly, he currently doesn’t have any cats.

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Kawai’s second cat, Chiko. Photo courtesy of Tokuhiro Kawai

Kawai also told NextShark that he draws inspiration from Renaissance painters Jan van Eyck, who was on his art class textbook when he first started oil painting, and Raffaello Santi. “I use his composition as reference still now,” Kawai said.

Check out the his oil paintings of regal cats below:

1. “Fantasy of a Pet Cat”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

2. “Livelihood of Cat”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

3. “Bird and Actindia”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

4. “Fairies in the Garden”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

5. “Hallucination of Pet Cats to be in Contact”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

6. “Cat That Seems It Put Boots On It”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

7. “Captor Who Becomes It Ignorantly”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

8. “Each Idea”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

9. “Idea of a Certain Cat”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

10. “I am a Cat”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

11. “Person Who Becomes It Ignorantly”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai

12. “Thinking Thoughts Smolder”

Image via Tokuhiro Kawai
Photo courtesy of Tokuhiro Kawai

Visit Kawai’s official page here. Check out his Instagram page here.

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Feature Images via Tokuhiro Kawai

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