Haruna Kawai’s illustrations are distinct in their simplicity. Her colourful portfolio of work is filled with drawings of abstract sculptural creations; whether it’s ceramic-like structures balance on three-dimensional triangles or padlock-inspired art objects, Haruna has a knack for illustrating minimalist constructions.
Right angles and perfect semi-circles permeate Haruna’s work. The Tokyo-based artist clearly draws inspiration from the sculptures she admires in galleries, the product design she sees in luxe furniture shops, and the innovative architecture she notices when she walks through Japan’s streets.
Her creations contain little context, allowing the viewer to conjure up their own ideas of what these structures might be used for and what their purpose could be. “I like it when pictures reimagine how we perceive space. I like it when a picture challenges conventions and offers new forms of visual expressions that I have not seen before,” Haruna tells It’s Nice That. Her uncanny illustrations blur the boundaries between commonplace objects — like furniture and latches — and surrealism: the purpose of her creations is to remain ambiguous.
“I draw a picture using similar techniques to cel picture animation, where each frame is drawn by hand. I start off by painting the lines and filling in the colours onto transparent film,” Haruna explains. This is particularly surprising considering her bold, meticulous line-work that is so accurate it could be digitally rendered. Her drawings are populated with pastel blues and soft yellows, yet feature little shading, which again, strengthens the semblance of digital execution. The immaculate precision of Haruna’s drawings make them look like preliminary sketches of sculptures she is planning to build.
Haruna is single-handedly trying to break down the boundaries between illustration and three-dimensional art. “I want the viewer to see the playful aspect of these structures and each object’s different volume. You could say that I create my drawings like a sculpture; the size of the picture changes according to the motif.”