Throughout his artistic career, Nara's works have attracted a diverse audience who are drawn to his stories of childhood experiences, manifested in his oeuvre that includes sculptures, mere sketches on scraps of paper and paintings on canvas.
Despite Nara's formal painting training in Japan, an extended education in Koln, Germany and an impressive list of globally held exhibitions and lectures, Nara's undemanding compositions are humble and approachable; rambunctious yet sweet, and elicit compassion for the single child.
These qualities are represented in his early work Untitled (Lot 1124) from 1988. Unlike his later works that bear aspects of child-like naivete and Japanese cartoon, this early work adheres to Western painting techniques, while bearing characteristics of the artist's present signature style. While in his later works the light color palette and flat painting technique often stand in contrast to the subliminal message and psychological complexity of the subject matter, the dark and layered color composition in Untitled is reflective of the child's feelings and emotions. Full of conviction, yet with a sense of sad apathy and solitude, the girl in the painting is simply a child with a larger than life spirit that overwhelms her small frame. Though she stands proud and seems somewhat distant, she is fragile and vulnerable.