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BackArts & Culture » [Illustrations] Polish Watercolor Artist Captures Tokyo's Historic Shopfronts

[Illustrations] Polish Watercolor Artist Captures Tokyo's Historic Shopfronts

There’s something about urban shopfronts that inspires artists everywhere to break out their canvas and doodle away.

Japan is well-known for many things: delicious cuisine, meticulously crafted products and pristine natural landscapes. For Polish artist and illustrator Mateusz Urbanowicz (also known as Mattō), it’s the slew of unique shops in Tokyo’s highly urbanized neighborhoods that keep him coming back for more.

In this series of watercolor paintings, simply titled “Tokyo Shopfronts”, Mattō takes a closer look at shops in old Japanese buildings.

“When I moved to Tokyo, more than 3 years ago I was really surprised that upon my walks I encountered so many shops still in business in really old buildings,” writes Urbanowicz in the collection’s description. “Differently to Kobe, where the earthquake wiped out a lot of these old downtown houses and shops, in Tokyo they still survive.”

Under Urbanowicz’s paintbrush, the tiny shops wouldn't look out of place as the background of a Japanese anime. Appropriately enough, the artist currently works as a background artist for Comix Wave Films animation studio in Tokyo. You can also spot his work in Japan’s latest chart-topping animation, Your Name.

Have a closer look at “Tokyo Shopfronts” below:

Yamane meat shop from Nippori District and a retro variety shop from Jinbōchō District.

A Chinese food restaurant from around Takadanobaba District and Miyake bicycle shop based on shops from Kagurazaka and Kichijyouji.

Nakashimaya Japanese sake shop from Mejiro District and Kitchen Kuku restaurant from Kichijyouji District.

Noike sushi restaurant from Yanaka District.

A hair salon from Sanbanchyo District.

A traditional color woodblock print store from Yanaka District and a meat shop from Koujimachi District.

[Illustrations via Mateusz Urbanowicz]

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