Maaike Canne's suggestive and vibrant illustrations inspired by Japanese traditions

Sento © Maaike Canne. All images courtesy of the artist

Throughout Maaike Canne's work, there's an underlying curiosity in the way people live and behave based on their location, prosperity, beliefs and values.

The Rotterdam artist and illustrator blends these personal stories with local architecture – whether hotels, shopping centres or petrol stations – to try to understand how places determine our own journey. She has a particular interest in modernist and mid-century buildings as well as the Bauhaus movement. Interestingly, her scenes are often pervaded by a sense of silence and estrangement.

In previous work, Maaike looks to Japan and its culture with rituals such as Sento, known as communal baths, or the tradition of exchanging gifts or tea ceremonies. She trawls through books and magazines, seeking inspiration for her artworks. From photographs of streets and landscapes to Japanese advertisements, you could say she's an image hoarder.

The resulting illustrations form her series Japan’s Cultural Mystery of Humanness. "I like Japan for many reasons. I think it started with it being totally different from where I’m from on every aspect," Maaike tells Creative Boom. "It has such a rich history which flows through all aspects of Japanese life. I love their eye for detail and refinement which is reflected in everything, from food to habits. I love how technology and traditional culture coexistent. How you can find a Shinto shrine behind a skyscraper with neon signs.

"The country has an incredible selection of natural beauty. From hot springs to snowy mountains, crazy forests you name it. Then there’s Japan and their gardens, it’s an art form."

Following on from this is a more recent piece called Kodokushi (孤独死), which means "lonely deaths" – a Japanese phenomenon of people dying alone and remaining undiscovered for a long period of time.

Working across a variety of different media, including murals, woodwork and print, Maaike Canne are often surreal and mysterious in what are recognisable spaces. She gets inspiration from interior, architecture and design. Discover more of her work at maaikecanne.com. Or follow her on Instagram.

Sento © Maaike Canne

Sento © Maaike Canne

Tea Ceremony © Maaike Canne

Tea Ceremony © Maaike Canne

Tea Ceremony © Maaike Canne

Tea Ceremony © Maaike Canne

Eggmachine © Maaike Canne

Eggmachine © Maaike Canne

Eggmachine © Maaike Canne

Eggmachine © Maaike Canne

Egg of the sun © Maaike Canne

Egg of the sun © Maaike Canne

Egg of the sun © Maaike Canne

Egg of the sun © Maaike Canne

Kodokushi © Maaike Canne

Kodokushi © Maaike Canne