The world illustrated by Kellen Hatanaka is one that holds a nostalgic vision of what she has observed throughout her life, spent in Canada but with Japanese cultural influences. From his family upbringing to symbols of popular culture such as food or baseball, Hatanaka expresses his feelings through an almost childlike style of painting, with which, however, he depicts the already mature world he sees with his own eyes.
Each painting combines unmistakable elements of Japanese tradition, from cherry blossoms to teapots, but also more anonymous stories, such as those of anonymous athletes, deprived of symbols except those on their uniforms or shoes.
Kellen Hatanaka’s illustrations are a picture of the power of context, which can only create worlds through the association of themes and symbols that are clear to the viewer. There is the confusion dictated by not identifying a historical period in which the characters live; the symbols are so universal to Japanese culture that they are timeless, for an effect of perennial energy.