I amputated my leg at the age of 4 because of a complicated condition called Mixed Vascular Malformation. by yoko tanaka

1_freedom by yoko tanaka


water color / color pencil
16.7 x 13.7 inch

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I amputated my leg at the age of 4 because of a complicated condition called Mixed Vascular Malformation. I was in and out of the hospital/surgery until my late 20s.

Since I was very little, I not only suffered from this condition, but also struggled with the difference in my body and the many things that I cannot do.  

This condition cannot be completely cured, and it was obvious that my legs were not growing back, so I have no choice but to deal with this body for the rest of my life.

However, when I saw all the children and family fighting the serious condition, and some not making it, I told myself that my struggles cannot be compared to them. Like so, I had a habit of putting a lid on my emotions.

Growing up with such an environment, it was natural for me to think about life. 

Even though I have had many sad and hard experiences, I believe that through this, I have felt that “nutrition of the mind and body is important” to live and make the most out of life. 

Since I was little, art has been the nutrition for my mind and heart.

When my body and mind suffered, I encountered the artworks of the beautiful seasons and a free world. 

As I laid on my side, the world in the picture books and postcards was shining bright, and it reminded me that this world was not all about hardships and sadness. 

When I focused on drawing, I was able to forget about the things I did not like.
Copying my favorite artworks, I enjoyed the time I spent on drawing my made-up world, and in that moment, I was able to forget about my sufferings and struggles. 

I was also certainly saved by the many warm thoughts of others.

I can certainly receive the power to live through face-to-face interactions, but I also believe that I got it from things filled with people’s thoughts and feelings.  

Like so, I lived with such support, but my emotions were still closed with a lid. 

Until my late 20s, I felt as if I was living at the edge to keep myself together.

I learned graphic design in college/graduate school, and with the help of my professor, I became active in drawing pediatric murals. 

I also created picture books on the topic of “hospitalization / surgery / treatment”, and around that time, I started wondering if there are “expressions that make use of my own experience.”

After graduating, I started working at a big company in order to reassure my parents.
Soon after, however, my condition worsened, and I was repetitively leaving/returning to work as I underwent surgery.  

I worked for 6 years, but felt the limit of my body and mind, and decided to resign. 

During that time, I believe I felt the most hopeless in myself. Yet, because I was at the bottom, there was nothing more I could lose. 

Once in my life, I wanted to be free. Without being caught up in labels and sealing my emotions, I started to truly want to live as my real self. With priority on a comfortable lifestyle and living with a smile, I started working from home as an illustrator/designer. 

2_connect by yoko tanaka

connect with strong ties

water color / color pencil
13.7 x 16.7 inch

If you wish to purchase, please contact us.

Now that I look back at it, I believe I was drawing for myself when I first started working as a freelancer.
By drawing beautiful plants, cute animals, a loving family, I drew a world that makes you smile and also saved myself. 

Yet, as I received more opportunities to let people see my artworks, 

I saw the smiles, the tears from “finding peace”, and the comments of “feeling warmth” and began wanting to warm the hearts of more people and cheer them up.
Mysteriously, the condition that I have suffered for many years, had begun to subside. By doing what I love, I became more confident and no longer despised myself. I started enjoying life.
By drawing and working with what I like at my own pace, my withered body and mind was able to receive the necessary nutrition. 

Currently, I am drawing original artworks and not only exhibit overseas, but also work on creating and providing services for designers that are particular about their craftsmanship. 

By visually expressing the works of compassionate people, I have been able to increase my awareness, and spread a warm world with designs that come from my heart.  

There are no concrete reasons for the way I was born. I believe this is a theme that I will continue thinking about. 

Yet, the best way to live by making full use of my experiences,
is not all about focusing on “medical-related artworks” that I used to draw as a student, but is about being lively in the mind and body, and drawing artworks that lights the candle of someone’s life.
This is the best way to make use of the many “art” and “people’s warm thoughts” that I received as a power to live. 

When you live, there are unexpected sad incidents. It may even make you hate yourself from it.

However, it is important to prioritize your mind and body.

By realizing that by yourself, and giving your mind and body the necessary nutritions, you will be able to let your life shine brightly.

I strongly believe that “art” would help many “realize” such thoughts. 

I will continue drawing by making use of my experience, and create artworks that touch the hearts of people.
I would also like to increase the number of people who would take care of themselves and bring liveliness to the mind and body.

3_fight by yoko tanaka


water color / color pencil
23.8 x 17.9 inch

If you wish to purchase, please contact us.

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