Culture / Art Republik

ART STAGE Singapore 2018: Ashok Jain Gallery presents Dan Obana

Dan Obana explores the subconscious with his multi-faceted digital prints

Jan 16, 2018 | By Art Republik

An artist who embraces technology as a means of creative expression, Japanese digital artist Dan Obana will be presenting his prints with New York-based Ashok Jain Gallery at Art Stage Singapore 2018.

Dan Obana in the studio. Image courtesy Ashok Jain Gallery.

Obana creates artworks that flirt with chance to give visual form to his vivid and complex subconscious. “I always try to actively incorporate coincidence into my art,” says the artist. Using the 3D computer graphics technique to build multi-faceted compositions, Obana uses his intuitive creativity to blur the lines between reality and imagination. “The 3D digital world in which I create my works is full of opportunities to encounter by chance,” he opines.

The artist’s compositions are instinctively but actively built, layer after layer, to reveal a surreal world of imagery. Working with digital techniques gives Obana the liberty to experiment with his visuals and add or subtract elements from his canvas, something he refers to as the “accidental scene”. The resulting digital painting is then printed on canvases framed on wooden panels, adding another layer of texture. While talking about his artistic process, he explains, “The process of grasping and adding more imagination to the accidental scene encountered by chance and inflating the image through trial and error is very attractive to me”.


Dan Obana, ‘Fortune of This Year’. Image courtesy Ashok Jain Gallery.

Obana started his creative journey as a digital artist in 2003. He has since exhibited widely at international art destinations like Fukuoka, New York, Bangkok and Tokyo. An associate member of the Japan Print Association, he has won a number of awards for his prints, including the Excellent Work Prize at the Asia Graph Exhibition in 2010 and 2011 as well as Semi-Grand Prix Award at the FEI Print Award Exhibition.

Over the years, Obana’s colour palette has transitioned from selective colouring to a more or less monochromatic one. His investigation into the strangeness and chaos found in the depths of the mind has also become much more evident. Ranging from stylised human figures and faces to deconstructed renderings of natural objects, his subjects are both chaotic and piercingly unambiguous at the same time. “I am always trying to create a strange space that no one has ever seen,” he reveals. However, while his compositions and technique are definitely unique, the chaos that his digital creations portray are instantly familiar to every human mind. Obana’s poignant and captivating prints thus create an intense dialogue between the physically visible and the contextually relatable in the viewer’s mind.         

The artist found his attraction to Surrealism in the works of Max Ernst and Hans Bellmer. “They lived through World War I, over a hundred years ago, and recognised the limits of the pursuit of rationalism,” he says. “They looked for clues to solve this predicament through the unconsciousness, much like the famed psychologist Sigmund Freud.” Using technological advancement to his advantage, Obana embarks on a journey similar to that of Ernst and Bellmer, to try to find meaning or answers in the depths within.

Playing with intuition and grappling with the subconscious, Obana’s prints provide a window into the mind of the artist as well as the viewer. “The act of trying to visualise chance or coincidence is an unconscious expression in itself,” says the artist. A dialogue is created not only between the artist and the viewer but also between the mind and the body.

More information at

Dan Obana, ‘Origin of Ideas’. Image courtesy Ashok Jain Gallery.


ART STAGE Singapore 2018 is the anchor event of the Singapore Art Week and takes place from 26 to 28 January 2018 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre Level 1, Halls A – C.

ART REPUBLIK is an official media partner of ART STAGE Singapore and will present its new (17th) issue, ‘Collecting,’  featuring Singapore artist Ruben Pang’s on the cover. Come visit our booth and follow our instagram (@art_republik) for daily highlights of the fair!

More information at

Back to top