LA Exhibits. Corey Helford Gallery: Mayuka Yamamoto. Erika Sanada

Downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery is proud to announce a two-artist exhibition featuring new works from Japanese contemporary painter Mayuka Yamamoto, titled Animal Crossing, and from San Francisco-based sculptor Erika Sanada, titled Dream State, to open Saturday, October 3rd in Gallery 3.

Yamamoto is widely recognized as one of Japan’s leading second-generation contemporary artists, whose works depict children sporting animal features and enigmatic expressions. The artist’s oil paintings often appear reticent and introspective. The emotions of the child characters in Yamamoto’s works, or “animal boys” as she often calls them, are meant to be a mystery to the viewer. They exude an aura of otherworldly calm and demeanor that belie their true emotional and psychological states, juxtaposed against subtle settings painted in soft, muted color tones.

Regarding her new series, Yamamoto shares: “It’s been nearly 20 years since I drew a picture of a child wearing an animal costume or becoming an animal. The reason for this is that, even though I am no longer a child, when I asked myself why I draw these pictures, I still feel the nostalgia of my childhood as an adult and it is still in my heart. It seems that my way of preserving this feeling is to continually paint these pictures. I have a certain memory of when I was young: My parents were always working very hard, but Christmas time was our family time together at home. It was a special day. Even now, when I smell the candles on a Christmas cake, my heart returns to my childhood as clear as if it were yesterday. It’s the same feeling as when I finished drawing these pictures. When I look at my work, I feel a little sadness and longing, but also happy.”

L-R: Mayuka Yamamoto’s “Little Sheep Boy,” “Little Red Bear,” and “Little Polar Bear,” plus Erika Sanada’s “Chikkoi Warrior – Drowsiness” and “Quartet”
L-R: Mayuka Yamamoto’s “Little Sheep Boy,” “Little Red Bear,” and “Little Polar Bear,” plus Erika Sanada’s “Chikkoi Warrior – Drowsiness” and “Quartet”

Sanada creates beautifully creepy creatures in relationships that are often sweet and sometimes sinister. As a perpetually worried soul, her works are a way for the artist to confront the darker side of her nature as well as an outlet for the sensitivities etched on her personality through the bitter experiences of youth.

Regarding her new series, Sanada shares: “My work represents the constant anxieties I face everyday and these worries amplify right before I go to sleep. These thoughts come and go, but always dwell in my mind. When I think they’re gone, I fall asleep, but they make their way into my dreams. For this show, I’m drawing inspiration from these dream states. I remember most of my dreams, they are vivid, weird, fun, and sometimes frightening. However, those dreams help me understand more about my anxieties and how to cope with it.”

Animal Crossing and Dream State open Saturday, October 3rd in Gallery 3, alongside a group show featuring HandiedanHikari ShimodaIan Francis, and Kai and Sunny in the Main Gallery and a solo show from Arinze Stanley in Gallery 2. Corey Helford Gallery is located at 571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033 and normal hours are Tuesday – Saturday, from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

Please note: In order to keep our family of artists, collectors and staff safe, and in compliance with the COVID-19 state-wide mandate, the physical gallery will remain closed until further notice but can be reached via email at

About Mayuka Yamamoto:

Born in 1964 in Okayama, Japan, Yamamoto received her master’s degree at Tokyo’s Masashino Art University in 1990 and joined the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artist to continue her studies in London until 1999. Her works have been shown in several solo shows held by Japan’s Gallery Tsubaki and her 2007 solo show, titled Deer Boy and Other infants, was hosted by Canvas International Arts gallery in Amsterdam. She also participated in group shows at the Korean International Art Fair (2004–2007) and Young Japanese Painting (2007, Amsterdam).

Yamamoto is known for her oil paintings portraying children in animal suits or possessing animal features, to reveal their inner world. Like a protective armor in response to their emotions and psychological state, they seem to instinctively hide behind a second skin in the form of animal costumes or some other defensive physical animalistic features. In some of the pieces, Yamamoto paints settings inspired by nature, further enhancing the contemplative space into which the subject seems to find solace in the dreamlike natural habitat.

About Erika Sanada:

California-based ceramic artist Erika Sanada’s early inspirations stemmed from creatures and characters of dark films. Watching films were her way of escaping from her bitter childhood. She creates hand sculpted, hairless ceramic creatures and they are often adorable but also have bizarre shapes. Her artwork has been shown at a number of art fairs, museums and both domestic and international galleries. Plus, her work has been published in Hi-Fructose MagazineHey! Magazine, and Beautiful Bizarre Magazine.

 About Corey Helford Gallery:

Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) was first established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer and creator, Bruce Helford (The ConnersAnger ManagementThe Drew Carey ShowGeorge Lopez) and has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goals as an institution are the support and growth of young and emerging, to well-known and internationally established artists. CHG represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today’s pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti and Street Art. CHG is located in Downtown Los Angeles in a robust 12,000 square foot building presenting new exhibitions approximately every six weeks. For more info and an upcoming exhibition schedule, visit and connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.