Event Reports

Boys’ Love “LIVE” Exhibition from SHIBUYA by Picaresque Gallery

On 25 July, we took part in Picaresque Gallery’s Boys Love “Live” Exhibition, which was hosted in the form of a 10-hour live stream on their YouTube channel!

Picaresque Gallery has been operating in Tokyo since 2013, and its philosophy is to be an art gallery that’s a comfortable place for everyone. While the gallery regularly hosts live streams on YouTube or Instagram, this was their first time running a 10-hour online event all in English; it featured around 140 postcard-sized artworks from more than 80 professional artists and art students!

The stream began with an introduction from gallery owner Wutami Matsuoka, and Chiyori, Picaresque’s special moderator. After greeting the audience, they quickly talked about how the artworks in this exhibition were available for purchase on a “first come, first served” basis and could be shipped anywhere on Earth via EMS!

From 17th of August to 13th of September, you can enjoy these boys’ love artworks in real life at Shibuya movie theater HUMAX! Overseas shipping is also available until the 13th of September 24:00. You can view all of the artworks on this web page! (Please note: SOLD OUT works will not be at the real exhibition in Shibuya.)

The first section of this online exhibition was dedicated to “kawaii” artworks or artworks which had cutesy or heart-warming vibes. Wutami and Chiyori spent 2 minutes talking about each artwork, discussing the materials, paper textures, and any other small details – such as gradients or gold foil – that you may have otherwise missed. This lets the viewers get up close and personal with each artwork, all from the comfort of their own homes!

The second section was dedicated to “Kyoto style” BL artworks, which had distinctly Japanese or oriental themes. Many of the artworks in this section incorporated traditional Japanese brushwork techniques or materials, such as gansai (Japanese pigment-based paints) or rakkan (signature stamping). Tattoo or kakejiku (hanging scroll) motifs were also commonly seen here.

Section 3 focused on “journalistic” artworks, many of which were based on the artists’ own experiences. These artworks often had stories behind them, and the theme of marriage was very common in this section; symbolism and abstract imagery were also used quite often. The powerful imagery in this section definitely evoked strong emotions within the viewers.

The theme for Section 4 was “mysterious,” and the artworks displayed here certainly lived up to it! This section was filled with surreal, mystic and magical imagery, ranging from religious motifs to dreamlike backgrounds.

At this point in the exhibition, the presenters took a break from presenting the artworks and introduced the first guest speaker, Yuki Klink! Yuki is a calligrapher and dollmaker who has lived in Brunen, Germany, for 20 years.

Yuki discussed how her love of BL stemmed from her love of beautiful things; after all, the male characters who appear in Boys’ Love stories are beautiful and aesthetically pleasing! She first discovered BL through the works of shoujo manga artist Moto Hagio, such as The Heart of Thomas and The Poe Clan. Yuki also mentioned how surprised she was about Picaresque holding BL exhibitions so openly, as she believed that BL is a bit of an “underground,” stigmatized genre. When asked about her thoughts on this live stream, she said she was happy for the opportunity to share the Japanese art style and culture with BL fans all over the world.

Yuki then began her live-drawing session, where she used her calligraphy inks and brush techniques to create 2 free-handed drawings! The first drawing was of an amabie, a legendary Japanese sea deity that can allegedly stave off epidemics. The amabie usually has a bird-like face, but Yuki added her own flair to the artwork by drawing a cat face instead. The second drawing featured a character from Kado: The Right Answer, whose hairstyle was similar to that of an ancient Japanese government official. Although Yuki claimed that drawing isn’t her specialty, she drew these 2 impressive artworks in just 15 minutes!

The next guest speaker was MIWAEL, whose iconic paintings have been shown in many of Picaresque Gallery’s previous exhibitions! She began her live session by giving us a 15-minute presentation about what inspires her works. MIWAEL enjoys drawing inspiration from classic masterpieces, such as the works of Raphael, and remaking them with a modern twist. She also likes the shape and form of bananas, and often draws them in the place of completely different things; she believes that they carry a very powerful image, which is slightly suggestive yet not completely hypersexual.

When asked about her thoughts on this exhibition, she mentioned that BL is quite romantic, whereas LGBTQ+ artworks are very grounded in reality and the realities of those who are LGBTQ+. MIWAEL takes inspiration from human passions involving the universal LGBTQ community and incorporates them into her colorful artworks, which she hopes that you can view in person in Japan once the current pandemic tides over.

After Miwael’s talk, 3 sections of artworks were introduced to the viewers. The first one was “fantasy”, and the BL artworks under this category contained many fantastical elements, such as mythical creatures and dramatic scenes. Many interesting materials, such as pearlescent paints and clear acrylic boards, were used in these experimental artworks!

The theme of section 6 was “For Kids,” and the artworks here were so vibrant and bright! While the BL element was still very strong, the overall dreamy atmosphere reminded us of children’s picture books.

Section 7 focused on the theme of “macho.” As the name implies, the artworks here zoomed in on the shape and form of the male physique, as well as exploring the concept of masculinity. In this section, delicate lineworks and paper textures were often used as a contrast against buff, musculine characters.

Then, it was time for guest artist Sedeto’s live-drawing session! Sedeto is a French artist who currently lives in Japan, and Picaresque Gallery is their favorite subculture-focused art gallery. She started off the stream by talking about how artists outside of Japan could join doujinshi events, such as Comiket, Comitia or J-Garden; she said that some events, such as Comiket, are rather difficult to join and require the artist to fill out a special application sheet right after the previous event. Artists will also need to have (or be able to borrow) a physical Japanese address in order to receive entry tickets. Sedeto mentioned that it was a dream come true for her to join these events, since she had always wanted to participate in them after watching Genshiken. As for where to find printing companies, she suggested shopping at these events and directly asking the artists who make nice doujins!

While drawing her sketch-style artwork on stream, Sedeto talked about the program she uses (CLIP STUDIO PAINT PRO) and how she likes using colour blending overlays to ensure a coherent finish. The finished version of the above artwork can be found on her Twitter page!

The next section featured professional BL manga artist Nacolat, and Emma Hanashiro, futekiya’s Editor-in-Chief! Nacolat began by talking about her artwork “gift” (shown above), which she drew specifically for this exhibition; it features the main characters from her manga Greetings, Smiles and Sparkles, which is available in English on futekiya.

During the stream, we learned that Nacolat and Emma both discovered BL in primary school. Emma encountered the concept of “shipping” through Cardcaptor Sakura, while Nacolat’s learned about BL through her relatives. (Gundam Wing and Yu Yu Hakusho anthologies were circulated within her classroom, and Hetalia was the reason she became a hardcore shipper!)

When asked about their favorite settings or tropes within BL, Emma said that she’s into megane boys (boys with glasses), and Nacolat opened a discussion about some of the settings that have been popular within the BL world over the recent years. Last year, omegaverse was super popular; and this year, the idea of unremarkable ukes (boring bottom boys) started becoming more mainstream. Of course, muscular men, salarymen and schoolboy BL have consistently maintained their popularity; as Emma put it, these tropes are “the bread and butter of BL” after all.

In addition, Nacolat advised that there are 2 main ways for overseas artists to make their debut in Japan as a BL manga artist: getting scouted by Japanese publishers and posting their work online. She mentioned that first-timers should put together an original story, get it translated into Japanese, and break into the market by publishing their works on Pixiv, DLSite, and other similar websites.

Finally, when asked about her thoughts on Picaresque Gallery’s Boys’ Love exhibition, Nacolat said that she is grateful for the opportunity to participate in live streams like this. As she usually draws manga alone, she was happy to get the chance to market her work towards English-speaking audiences while also interacting with other people.

(The completed artwork from this stream can be found on Nacolat’s Twitter! Check out Nacolat’s author page on futekiya to see some of her spicier works. Sampling Sex might also be added to our Library in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for more updates!)

You can watch futekiya and Nacolat’s talk and live drawing segment below or on our YouTube channel!


The next section of the artwork showcase focused on “beautiful boys” with long lashes and wistful gazes. The boys in the artworks looked like they jumped straight out of classic shoujo or BL manga!

The theme for Section 9 was “school boys,” a very popular trope within BL. The artworks captured the fleeting moments of youth, as well as the essence of young love amongst adolescent boys.

The final section, dubbed “Office Love,” featured artworks of men in suits or work uniforms. It captured moments of forbidden love in work settings, whether it be in modern-day offices or otherwise.

Picaresque Gallery has more live-streams and online events on their schedule, and we’re already looking forward to what they have in store in the future! We highly recommend visiting their web page and taking a look at the artworks that are displayed online. You might even be able to find your next favorite creator!

Their Speech Balloon Online Exhibition is ongoing so be sure to check it out!
Details here: https://picaresquejpn.com/list-of-exhibited-works-manga-art-online-exhibition/


Dates and times August 17 until September 13, 2020
* Please note that business hours during the exhibition period are not regular.
For inquiries, please call 03-3462-2539 or check the official website: https://www.humax-cinema.co.jp/shibuya/
Venue Shibuya HUMAX Cinema 4F Lobby (Access Map)
Official Website https://picaresquejpn.com/boyslove-live-ten-2020/ (Japanese only)


About futekiya: BL manga subscription

Boys' Love Manga Subscription Service futekiya promotional image

In 2018, futekiya began as a Boys’ Love manga news and culture website operated by FANTASISTA, INC., a CG/VR production studio based in Tokyo, Japan. futekiya transformed into a budding global distributor of officially licensed BL manga in 2019.

futekiya launched as an online subscription service for officially licensed BL manga on July 8, 2019. Determined to connect fans around the world with English-translated BL legally and conveniently, futekiya empowers readers to support creators and the manga industry.

Readers who subscribe to futekiya and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. To subscribe, please go to read.futekiya.com and create an account. More information is in our Guide.

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