amahi mori Dream Forest
4 min

When Flesh and Flora Embrace: The Pencil Magic of Amahi Mori

4 min

Though Amahi Mori avoids defining her art as erotic, the subject of her paintings is directly related to the topic of our magazine. Depicting the cycle of nature, which is inevitably connected with Eros and Thanatos, the artist draws her inspiration from such highly erotic sources as Greek mythology, namely, the story of Daphne's transformation into a laurel tree. Curiously, the denial of the immanent eroticism of her works makes Amahi Mori quite similar to the naiad she perpetually portrays.

 Amahi Mori with her work in December

Fig. 1. Amahi Mori with her work in December 2023 (

Daphne Beyond Eternity by Amahi Mori

Fig. 2. Daphne Beyond Eternity, 2021, 33.3 x 53 cm, pencil, acrylic gouache on paper (

amahi mori Beyond the Border

Fig. 3. Beyond the Border, 2021 (

 amahi mori Dream Forest

Fig. 4. Dream Forest, 455×380 mm, pencil, watercolor on paper, 2018 (

untitled by amahi mori

Fig. 5. Untitled, 2023 (

untitled by amahi mori detail


Amahi Mori nude

Fig. 6. Untitled, 2023 (

 Amahi Mori Japanese artist

Fig. 7. Untitled, 2023 (

 amahi mori Medusa-Painful red

Fig. 8. Medusa-Painful red, 23 x 18 cm, pencil, watercolor, acrylic gouache on paper, 2021 (

 amahi mori nude with flower

Fig. 9. Untitled, 2023 (

 nude art by Amahi Mori

Fig. 10. Narcissus Blindness, 41 x 31.8 cm, pencil, watercolor, acrylic gouache on paper, 2021 (

Art as a Challenge

Like many kids, Amahi Mori drew a lot in her early years; fortunately, she didn't outgrow her hobby, having chosen art as her lifelong occupation. In 2011, Mori attained a BFA in Fine Arts after completing a Painting Course at Kyushu Sangyo University. Two years later, she majored in Fine Arts at Tokyo Zokei University. The first exposition of her works happened in 2012 at Watanabe Gallery, two years before leaf veins, the leitmotif of her art, emerged in her images. Treating art as a challenge, Mori confined herself to a pencil, trying to convey volume and texture without using colors (except for several colorful butterflies), though she studied oil painting for many years. The more scrupulous the process is, the better the result: every image looks more like an elegant engraving than a pencil drawing. As the artist says in one of her interviews, I don't want my pencil drawings to be flimsy, so I layer them, repeatedly drawing over and over again as if I were building up an oil painting.

Arachne by Amahi Mori

Fig. 11. Arachne, 2021, 41 x 31.8 cm, pencil, acrylic gouache on paper (

Eliminating Deception

The time-consuming approach resembles the Chinese gongbi technique of ink painting, which takes days. Practically, Mori reproduces it using a tool associated with quick sketches. In her own words, this way, she eliminates deception, relying on her skill solely. From this point of view, the only artists that can compare with Mori are the first prehistoric painters, who had nothing but a cave wall and a piece of chalk to create their immortal oeuvres. Yet, just like mother nature, the artist doesn't fully eradicate "deceptive" decorativeness, adding monochromatic acrylic gouache and powdered pearl pigment to her images.

Bird Dance by Amahi Mori

Fig. 12. Bird Dance, 2021, 45.5 x 45.5 cm, pencil, acrylic gouache on paper (

In the extended Premium version of this article more on how Mori exploits the visual motif of leaf veins, her fascination of the tree as a source of erotic pleasure (arborophilia), the erotic metaphor of the insect and the rose-headed woman, what affected her visual preferences, and 39 additional pics of her mesmerizing nudes.

Click HERE for the flourishing Eros in the engravings of Joh Keito

You can follow Amahi Mori on Instagram

Sources:;; Metaphysical Mark Making: An Exclusive Interview With Amahi Mori by Elizah Leigh (