(December 22, 1976)
is a Japanese Superflat artist, manga artist, and science fiction essayist.
Takano was born in Saitama, Japan. She spent her childhood reading her father's library, which consisted of many books on natural sciences and science fiction. Exotic animals and landforms combined with an urban city are common themes in her artwork, and are intended to show the juxtaposition between future and fantasy. Takano cited in a documentary made by the Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin that she was always fascinated by the unusual forms of nature and animal life, and desires to have such shapes represented in her work.
Osamu Tezuka's science fiction was another early influence in Takano's life, and had a lasting impact on her dreamy perception of the world. She cites in the book Drop Dead Cute by Joan Vartanian that she really believed everything she read was true until she was nineteen. Takano states that sometimes even now she imagines possessing the ability to fly and is uninterested in the constrictions of being grounded.
When it was time for her to start thinking about college, Takano told her parents she wouldn't attend unless she was allowed to enter an art program. In 2000, she received a bachelor's degree from Tama Art University in Tokyo, and, soon after, became an assistant for leading Japanese Contemporary Artist Takashi Murakami, who became her first mentor and jump-started her career.
Murakami was looking to exhibit the work of young artists and to help create an artistic community for like-minded artists that used the Superflat style. The Superflat movement, popularized by Murakami himself, is about emphasizing the two dimensionality of figures, which is influenced by Japanese manga and anime, while dually exposing the fetishes of Japanese consumerism. Through the basic ideas of this movement, he created the Kaikai Kiki Co., a group where five out of the seven members are women.
In the 1980s, the look of pre-pubescent girls became the target of consumer culture in Japanese society. This infantilization and objectification of the female was seen most heavily in Japan's otaku culture. Japanese female artists like Takano seek to reinvent the otaku culture through a feminine perspective. Takano in particular is interested in depicting how the future will impact the role of the female heroine in society. Her figures, often androgynous, float through her alternate realities partially clothed or fully nude. Takano denies that she is trying to reveal anything specific about sex, but rather, with the slim bodies, bulbous heads, and large eyes, she is trying to emphasize her figures' temporary suspension from adulthood; the redness on the figures' joints, such as the elbows, knees, and shoulders, is supposed to convey that they are still engaged in the growing process, mentally and physically. Takano's playful and ambiguous visions of the future, especially one which revolves around the feminine, serves as a way for her to create her own mythology, free from the chains of reality.