I don’t know much about Greg Darrol but I do love what I’ve seen from him so far. The South Africa native, who goes by the deceptively Japanese sounding handle of “Tokyo-Go-Go” on the web, is an illustrator and graphic designer with a knack for combining the cute with the macabre. While there’s definitely a decent amount of cute-meets-dark work out there in the world these days, notably in the urban vinyl scene, it often feels a bit forced or pointless but not so with Greg Darrol’s work.His work hits the sweet spot between dark and light that so many miss, and while I may be projecting, I think it has to do with his South African origins.
At any rate, Japan-meets-South Africa is certainly a fascinating cultural/aesthetic mashup as they are both first world countries with huge cultural and economic sway in their respective regions of the world, yet they’re both still coming to terms with the momentous violence and darkness that defined each of them in the twentieth century – Apartheid for South Africa and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. It all makes for a surprisingly neat fit in Darrol’s illustrations. So while I often find colorful skulls and cartoon mutilation a bit trite or overindulgent when done by Americans, I just want to see more and more of them in Greg Darrol’s art.
As you’ll see in the gallery after the jump, Darrol dabbles in various media. He’s made sticker sets, T Shirts and a really impressive series of skate decks featuring his artwork. Also, take note of the up-close detail shots of the details on some of his more intricate pieces. They’re reminiscent of Tokidoki‘s art, but after someone dropped an A-bomb on it. And at the end of the gallery, there’s a nice little four-stage series showing how he gets his work from concept to final product. Enjoy!