1. ITV Report

Body artist challenges prejudices by painting illusions

Hikaru Cho uses 'hyper-real' painting to create illusions Photo: Reuters

A young Chinese artist has amassed a large online following for her shockingly life-like body paintings.

Hikaru Cho, who' has lived all her life in Japan, says she first had the idea to use skin as her canvas when she ran out of materials to draw on:

It all began when I wanted to paint something at home and I looked around for something to paint on. I couldn't be bothered to look hard so I used my hand and painted an eye on it. That turned out to be be quite freaky, so I took a picture and when I showed that to people they were very shocked - more shocked than I thought would be possible.

– Hikaru Cho

The 21-year-old student at Musashino Art University in Tokyo initially started posting her work online, where she built a following for her illusive illustrations.

Her work has since caught the eye of Amnesty International, who used it in a global campaign for sexual and reproductive rights.

Hikaru Cho at work in her Tokyo studio Credit: Reuters

As a Chinese national living in Japan, Cho said she was frustrated about people's preconceived ideas of her, based on her nationality.

Hikaru Cho says her work is inspired by the experience of living as a Chinese national in Japan Credit: Reuters

People tend to judge others just by their appearances, the colour of their skin, their eyes. I think that is really stupid. So I create these pieces of work with a message to others that not all is what it seems on the surface.

– Hikaru Cho

Cho also uses stop-motion animation to make videos to deepen the sense of illusion.