The Superb 1980s Hyper-Realistic Illustrations by Japanese Artist Masao Saito – Design You Trust — Design Daily Since 2007

The Superb 1980s Hyper-Realistic Illustrations by Japanese Artist Masao Saito


Masao Saito, the illustrator, is celebrated for his proficiency with the airbrush, a tool he has utilized to create images that are strikingly realistic, yet carry a dreamlike quality.

Born in 1947, he has made a name for himself both in commercial and fine art domains. His technique is notable for its glossy finish, often rendering subjects with a remarkable sense of depth and lifelike precision that borders on the surreal.


The airbrush technique allows for a smooth application of paint, which Saito has mastered to such a degree that his illustrations often appear to be almost more real than reality itself. This method of painting is particularly effective for creating gradients and subtle shifts in color that mimic the natural world, but under Saito’s control, these elements are pushed to a level of perfection that seems to amplify the subjects beyond their natural state.

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Despite the technical precision in his work, there is an emotional resonance that comes through in Saito’s illustrations. This emotional quality ensures that his pieces are not cold displays of technique, but rather, they speak to the viewer on a more instinctive level.

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His works, especially from the 1980s, are often reflective of the aesthetic trends of the time in Japan, with a particular emphasis on the glossy, polished look that came to be associated with the era’s sense of futurism and high fashion. His illustrations have a unique way of capturing the zeitgeist, reflecting both the advancements in technology and the cultural shifts of the period.

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