ONEQ is a Japanese artist  “pulling inspiration from both traditional Japanese comic book art and American pin-up photography, her work simultaneously has the feeling of being vintage yet contemporary through the combination of digital rendering techniques with classic pin-up poses. “  Her influences are visible in her work even though they may be subtle additions to the image. The pin up influence is readily apparent as most of her work features a female figure who is beautiful and has the same kind of pose and minimal clothing as displayed in classic pin up imagery. Though ONEQ’s pin-ups definitely have a more modern twist to them.

Similarly to the classical pin up the women in ONEQ’s drawings are oozing with confidence,  which you can tell from their expressions and poses. They look as if they are flaunting their sexuality but they also look as if they are in complete control, which I think could be seen as a strong influence for female viewers. Perhaps the character of the image can be empowering despite being just a drawing. ONEQ says in an interview with Supersonic  ” Another influential to me is Simon Bisley. He is an American comic artist and the way he portrays women in his artwork, with their strength equal to their feminine qualities, was extremely influential on me. After discovering his work, I began portraying the strength of women as well as their beauty in my art.” I think that the merging of strength and beauty in her work is clear, as I said before the confidence and control portrayed in the characters adds to the strength. Not a single women in her images looks weak, and she enhances the strength by normally portraying the woman alone, I feel that this in a way sends the message that women are strong and beautiful by themselves and could suggest that they don’t need anyone to ‘save’ them as if they are weak or a ‘damsel in distress’. This is an excellent message, the ideas behind ONEQ’s work give great feminist messages subtly.

I have looked at Sailor Jerry style pin-up drawings and I find that the aims of those drawings are similar to these in the way that they simplify the human form but still convey a great amount of character and detail.ONEQ says about manga artist Rumiko Takahashi “Her designs were simple and interesting, this is the style I use today.”

The classic pin up was mainly designed for men to look at, what I like about these images is that since they have been created in a modern era by a female they have not been created for mens viewing pleasure, they’ve just been created for great art! I find the first image displayed above particularly fabulous as the woman  has been drawn to be doing her own thing, her expression and body shows she is preoccupied reading her book and she could not give a hoot what anyone thinks of her.

I think the Japanese influence is most apparent in the above image as the characters tattoo, white clouds behind and black clouds in front of them are reminiscent of the style used in traditional Japanese art. I also think the scales that feature on some of the girls’ body and outfits relate to some mythical creatures portrayed in Japanese art, for example dragons and the feathers on some birds.

The colour schemes that ONEQ uses in her work is also somewhat reminiscent of traditional Japanese art. The sepia toned background adorned with vibrant reds and greens is somewhat similar to that style but she also does some pieces that have even more varied colours such as brighter purples and greens which make it look more modern and futuristic, which contrasts with the sepia tones which give a more vintage effect.


ONEQ’s work is relevant to my project in a few different ways. Firstly she creates modern pin ups which have a feminist aura to them due to the portrayal of strong, confident, beautiful women. She also adds some monster/mythical type creatures into her work such as mermaids, and adding fangs and/or claws to her women. It is mainly the pin-up element that is relevant here but I find it interesting that there were some monster-types included. // Posted February 29th 2012 // By Russ Crest // Posted 14th June 2012 // Interview by/Posted by Zach Tutor // Posted 6th April 2013 // Written/Curated by Zach Tutor


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