Makoto Aida is a Japanese contemporary artist best known for his anti-establishment, “non-art” approach to art. His work, which often seeks to offend by combining the classical sense of Japanese culture with the current state of the world and of his particular view of popular culture.
Born in 1965, Makoto Aida has been producing art since the 1980s in a way that has always been designed to show two sides of Japan, both that which he despises and that which he fully embraces and lauds as a naturally born citizen. From his portrait of a crazed Mickey Mouse and a violated Minnie Mouse with a challenge to Disney lawyers to come after him to his murals and portraits of contemporary Japanese imagery twisted into something disturbing, he has always straddled the line between offending and promoting his culture.
Most of Aida’s themes revolve around sex, death, and politics, meshing iconic imagery into easily depicted commentaries on the world around him. His work has been shown in the 2001 Yokohama Treinnale and the Whitney Museum’s “American Effect” exhibit. His personal exhibit at the Mizuma Art Gallery titled Minna to Issho showcased a tribute to his life’s work to date.
Because of the mixture of themes in his work, Aida has been praised by many in the art community and viciously attacked by Japanese loyalists who feel his work his insulting and cruel more than it is artwork. The controversy over each new piece he releases – for example his “Turd from a Jomon Period Monster” – draws attention no matter how it is presented, but the visceral effect it has on those who view it is either positive or negative.