- eerie / Horror / Illustration / Japanese Artist / japanese illustrator / kamikakushi / Mozza / spooky / supernatural
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Student and illustrator Mozza is a fan of the horror genre with a particular fixation on mist or fog to convey a sense of eerieness, uncanniness, a border space between the world of the living and the world of the dead, or the physical manifestation of a malefic presence. Moreover, this extends to her use of colors and textures to blur boundaries and distinctions between dark and light.
With Mozza's permission, we've posted some of our favorites here:
Out of the mist
Kamikakushi: (Mean-)Spirited Away
One of Mozza's recent themes is kamikakushi, which means "spiriting away." While English-speaking audiences may immediately think of the Ghibli film, the term refers to a far more sinister phenomenon of children mysteriously dying or disappearing, as the result of an evil spirit. Whereas the in-between spaces separating the living and the dead have traditionally been forests or other places from the Japanese countryside, in Mozza's imagination, highways seem to serve this purpose...
In the foreground of this illustration, a sign which normally indicates a designated road for students to commute to school has been (perhaps supernaturally) altered to say reidō 霊道 "spirit road" and the image of two children walking together has now become what looks like an evil spirit about to abduct a child...
Hosousu [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
It looks even more spooky in this animated version:
Although Mozza works in the horror genre, her illustrations are not without hope since they also feature characters who try to resist or fight off the supernatural evil, such as in this illustration.
In this illustration, a figure in white robes and wearing a triangle headband as is traditionally worn by the dead in Japanese funeral ceremonies is making a call in a phone box which says: "Only three calls allowed to the World of the Living." Far away in the background, we can see a torii gate for a Shinto shrine symbolizing the transition between the mundane and the sacred.
The kanji eerily printed within the bloody red spot at the foreground of this illustration is 祟 tatari, meaning a curse or the wrath of an angry spirit.
Here, we can sense an unsettling juxtaposition between the real and the unreal. Draped across the entrance to what appears to be a typical house in Japan, a police tape is printed in English (perhaps a nod to the numerous Western horror films Mozza has watched). What has happened beyond that door and who (or what) is the cat-like being crouched in front of it?
Even when Mozza is creating portraits, a hint of the uncanny and spectral always seems to be somehow present.
Either in the stark whiteness of skin or the indistinct way in which it is outlined, we are left wondering if this character has an angel's wing or if the body itself is immaterial and is being carried away by the wind, strand by whispy strand.
Mozza is also capable of drawing in a more "anime" style, although even here, a hint of mist (or haze) is never far away.
To see more of Mozza's imaginative and memorable art, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her page on Pixiv and Artstation: