Hanami: Beyond the Blooms

This third annual immersive celebration of the cherry blossom season pushed the limits by using technology to transform the more traditional art of illustration into an immersive, animated, interactive experience of the season. 

By bringing award-winning Japanese artist Yuko Shimizu’s hand-made ink illustrations to life with with cutting-edge interactivity, Hanami transported visitors into a new tale of spring — one where they could contemplate both the excitement and chaos of the season as they engaged with centuries-old traditions and explored the interconnectedness of the natural world.

Powerful winds swept flowers across the sky, birds took flight and vibrant petals fell gently. Traditional taiko drums gave way to surreal paths of hand-illustrated cherry blossom trees and a Japanese-inspired environment where visitors could welcome spring. Hanami breathed new life into this familiar time of year, allowing visitors to enjoy the thrills and beauty of a seasonal phenomenon beyond its limited organic time-span. 

In Rapture – Main Gallery
This installation was inspired by Yuko’s childhood memories of cherry blossom trees in Japan, evoking both the chaos of rebirth and renewal.

Awakening – Gallery One
Explore the sound of traditional Japanese taiko drums, reimagined with cutting-edge technology.

Walking with Petals – Gallery Two
Walk beneath a surreal path of Cherry Blossom trees, made entirely out of hand-illustrated elements.

Hana Saku Biome – Media Lab
Experience cherry blossoms with all of your senses. As you walk through, cherry blossoms fill the space around you and you learn what exactly makes a cherry blossom tree “grow.”

About the artist

ARTECHOUSE Original with Yuko Shimizu

Powered by passion, the ARTECHOUSE Creative Team works at the forefront of art and technology to develop, produce and present genre-pushing, immersive experiences. For this installation, the team collaborated with award-winning Japanese illustrator, Yuko Shimizu (清水裕子), to bring her art to life with animation and interactivity.

Based in New York City and an instructor at the School of Visual Arts, Shimizu  combines her Japanese heritage with timely topics such as race and gender. From Pepsi cans and Gap t-shirts to the pages of the New Yorker and Time magazine, her art is everywhere.

“[Working with ARTECHOUSE] was the most challenging, hardest and most rewarding experience I’ve ever had as an illustrator.” – Yuko Shimizu

Please do not mix her up with another Yuko Shimizu. This Yuko did NOT create Hello Kitty.

yukoart.com | @yukoart