For what small shops lack in size, they certainly make up for in charm and personality. Artist Angela Hao captures the diversity of quaint Japanese storefronts in her colorful Procreate illustrations. Although she is based in the U.S., the artist is able to digitally travel across the streets of Tokyo and Osaka using Google Street View, finding numerous buildings for creative inspiration along the way. Then, as she recreates the structure on her iPad, she embellishes the exterior with dreamy touches, like luscious plants, expressive signage, and adorable cats.
“My art is mostly focusing on architectural illustration,” Hao tells My Modern Met. “I especially love to paint the front view of shops, restaurants, and houses. The most fun part of creating art (for me) is to add imagined elements to the relatively plain reality. Adding vines, foliages, animals, hanging store plaques, flower pots, etc. really brings life to a drawing.” By merging nature with the urban landscape, Hao creates a Studio Ghibli-like aesthetic that is visually appealing.
“I also enjoy changing the storefront structures or combining parts from different stores together to create a new look. Sometimes when I look at a reference photo, I would imagine what if this Raman store was actually a bookstore. I would then start to ‘remodel’ the store on my canvas,” Hao explains. As a result of her experiments and attention to detail, the digital illustrations appear extremely vivid. It’s as though each building is loved and visited by many.