Artist Hisashi Tenmyouya’s “RX-78-2 Kabuki-mono 2005 Version”, went for HK$4.8 million (about $600,000) at a recent Hong Kong auction; certainly a gorgeous illustration by any estimation. Hisashi Tenmyouya covers both classical and more modern themes in his art, though always in a finely executed classical style.
He has more to say about this particular work:
I produced this painting for the exhibition, “GUNDAM: Generating Futures,” which was held at the Suntory Museum from July 15 to August 31, 2005. The work was later exhibited at the Ueno Royal Museum and other venues. In Japan there are many “Gundam-Otaku’s,” and their adoration of Gundam is intense. Therefore, I did not want to change their image of Gundam. By changing Gundam’s “mobile suit” to tattoos, I altered his body, and made him even more customized. I emphasized the very concept of the “mobile suit,” and by setting Gundam against a background of gold leaf from traditional Japanese painting, I emphasized Gundam’s samurai origins.
More of his excellent art is displayed on his homepage, though unfortunately not in particularly fetching resolutions. He talks about his art more in this interesting interview. See also here for some more of his art, and the particularly intriguing, though unrelated, work below. A report on the auction in question is here.