"A magazine that is packed to the brim with human interests and desires bears a strong resemblance to who I am as a person. My life is not a straight shot, with one central theme running through it like a book. It would be more properly called a ‘magazine editor's life', spent looking about at my surroundings constantly, wandering from place to place, engaging in a wide variety of work along the way."
Keiichi Tanaami began drawing at an early age and was heavily influenced by the end of World War II and post war Tokyo. Eventually he went on to study at Musashino Art University where he quickly gained attention and was awarded a Special Selection by the illustration and design group. Tanaami briefly worked for an advertising agency after graduation but demand for his commissions increased and he soon left.
Tanaami became involved in animations but then on a trip to New York he discovered the work of Andy Warhol. This was to prove life changing. He was intrigued by Warhol’s gall to produce works with the sole purpose of selling to the art market but he decided this was how he would like to work. Tanaami proceeded to use different mediums to create his own colourful and kitschy pieces of pop art. His art has been widely celebrated in Japan and abroad.
Tanaami went on to produce album covers for the legendary Jefferson Airplane and The Monkees. The influence of American culture also manifested itself in a series of erotic paintings featuring Hollywood actresses. He went on to become the first art director of the Japanese edition of Playboy magazine.
Keiichi Tanaami has continued to be deeply involved in the art world and has gained recognition for his art in both print and film. Tanaami derives his images “based on my actual experiences”. His works are a mixture of memories including those of WWII when bombs were dropped on Tokyo, and his dream world.
“If I tell you about my motivation very simply, I just want to see a world or landscape that doesn’t exist.”