Japanese manga illustrator set to inspire Cumbrian artists of the future

Japanese manga illustrator set to inspire Cumbrian artists of the future

A Japanese manga artist admired for unique gothic-cute artworks is sharing the secrets of her success with students of the University of Cumbria, ahead of appearing at an international comic art festival at the weekend. 

Junko Mizuno is stopping off at the university’s Brampton Road campus on Thursday 10 October to give a lecture and workshop for first year students, before opening a free exhibition of her works at the university’s Vallum Gallery.

She then goes onto appear at the renowned Lakes International Comic Arts Festival (LICAF) in Kendal, where she will take part in a Comics Cultural Exchange, which organisers hope will lead to the development of a network of international comic artists.

Nick Dodds, Senior Lecturer in Visual Culture at the University of Cumbria is thrilled to welcome Junko to Cumbria. He said:

“We're really excited to be hosting Junko’s exhibition at the university. Having an artist of such international acclaim visit our campus and share her work and industry insight is a real coup and a fantastic opportunity for our students.

“The work in the show was selected by Junko herself and reflects a diverse practice of twenty years and counting.”

He continued: “Junko is a Japanese artist working in an American cultural landscape and you can see both reference points in her work. Her style is truly unique and draws from a heady and varied mix of cutesy horror, sexuality and pop ephemera, moving seamlessly between commercial illustration and fine-art practices.”

Junko Mizuno grew up in Tokyo, Japan but now lives in San Francisco. She has achieved international success with many exhibitions, festivals and books featuring her work over her career to date, and has even collaborated with Ikea.

Her stunning work is instantly recognisable for her unique visual iconography of powerful women portrayed in a manga style, although she refuses to be pigeon-holed instead claiming her work is ever-changing and influenced by many genres.

The Junko Mizuno exhibition opens on Monday 7 October and runs until Friday 25 October 2019 (10.00am – 4.00pm) at the Vallum Gallery, University of Cumbria, Brampton Road. Junko will open the exhibition on 10 October (12.15pm – 1.30pm).

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival Kendal in the Lake District runs Friday 11 – Sunday 13 October.