(Art) The Nymphs and Nixies of Miho Hirano

“Ever since I was a little girl, I felt that I was not good at expressing myself with words. Any hardships I experienced came from feeling stressed at school or in my early life, so painting became my way to escape reality. I found meaning in my drawing, and drawing is still an essential part of my ability to find confidence and strength.”


“My work doesn’t employ traditional techniques, but I do try to achieve a feeling of ‘charm’ that comes with traditional works. I don’t necessarily set out to paint something beautiful, but I am aware of the harmony that occurs between the figures and motifs, and that for me creates a sense of beauty.”

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Miho Hirano graduated from Musashino Art University in 2008 and now lives in Chiba, just outside Tokyo, where she works as a professional artist.

There is — in all cultures, it seems — an enduring connection between the feminine and nature. Personified, she is Mother Nature, nurturing and destructive, the Fates and Furies, nymphs and nixies.

Presumably this is because it is the females of the species who give birth. Men are reduced to fertilizer. We are the sky god whose rain and/or sunlight fall on our fecund mother and bring forth her bounty. In a flash, thunder breaks like anger from his mouth.

I wonder to what degree this informs and directs our preconceptions about gender. Men are distant, bright, rational, angry. (My mother, who’s worked for decades as a clinical social worker specializing in anxiety and depression, jokes that men have two emotions: angry and not angry.)

Women, then, are close, mysterious, emotional, and nurturing — all elements evoked by Ms. Hirano’s art, which is precisely why it’s so evocative.

Find more on the artist’s website or click below for a larger image.