Folk-Inspired Portraits by Illustrator Ayumi Takahashi

Born in China and raised in Japan by a family of artists, Ayumi Takahashi is an illustrator and graphic designer with an exceptional flair for creating colourful images with a wonderful sense of character. From portraits to editorial illustrations and brand identity projects, Ayumi’s simple graphic style communicates a sense of joy and positivity that’s refreshing to see in each image.

Having graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, USA, and Central Saint Martins, London, Ayumi now lives in New York working on her paintings, drawings, textile pieces and graphic design. Her travels around the world to live, work, study and explore seem to inspire her beautiful block-coloured portraits of women juxtaposed with striking botanical fronds and printed fabrics.


Ayumi describes her influences as myriad, citing ancient Chinese paintings, Japanese woodcut prints, folk art, Memphis and fashion through the decades as movements and aesthetics that inspire her works. “My nationality is Planet Earth” she says. “I love being international, studying, exploring the culture and adding these experiences into my own work. I like to I think of all these people living in different parts of the world, preserving and living in their own cultures. I want to carry forward that very positive, beautiful legacy that human beings have created.”

With a long list of prolific clients and collaborators including the likes of The New York Times and Paramount Pictures, Ayumi’s acrylic gouache creations are special in their simplicity, allowing viewers to project and weave their own narratives from each piece. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Ayumi’s work pop up all over the world in the galleries, stores and publications I love over the coming months and into the new year.

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Words: Emily Beeson | @boogiemargaret