Inspiration: APAK

It’s easy for me to point to things from my childhood that inspire my creativity now, because I’ve internalized them so much: Dr. Seuss, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Jim Henson movies, and the like. These artistic giants are such a big influence that they will always be with me. I find it a little harder to point to contemporary artists who inspire me, which has to do with a feeling I have that there are so many creative people out there, it would be an impossible task to discover them all. There is also a little negative comparison involved (I’ll never be as good as them), and also a kind of inspiration overload that I try to avoid (I’m talking about you, Pinterest).

These are feelings that I’m always working on, but sometimes I come across artists whose work is so enchanting and beautiful that my insecurities drop away, and I can just fall in love. One of those artists is APAK, a husband and wife team who together illustrate tiny worlds that I just want to jump into headfirst.


I first saw Aaron and Ayumi Piland’s work a few years back when I was working at gallery hanahou. I was immediately drawn in by their gentle scenes and the way that their adorable characters are dwarfed by the nature surrounding them.


Aaron and Ayumi been creating artwork together since 2005, and in addition to gallery shows, they do commercial projects and they sell prints and other products through their Etsy shop.


This one is available as a really affordable limited-edition print:


I really can’t choose a favorite piece by them, but I do find myself particularly charmed by their 3D work.


Are you in love yet? The serene wonder of the world they’ve created always speaks to me when I’m I’m feeling less than peaceful. It’s an uncomplicated love for me!

9 thoughts on “Inspiration: APAK

  1. Thank you for sharing these! I think you hit the nail on the head when you used the word “serene”. They’re so gentle and happy, and I absolutely flipped when I saw the sloth one in their etsy shop! These remind me a bit of katamari damacy, don’t you think? Rock on, Anna!

  2. Oh goodness. If we ever finish painting the second bedroom, I think one of these will have to go in there. I can forgo coffee for a month or so!

  3. These are beautiful, and their color palette matches my daughter’s room perfectly. One of their prints is definitely coming home to the reading corner- the hard part is choosing just one! Thanks so much for sharing!

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