In the Time of Chimpanzees I was a Monkey

Growing up happa (half-japanese) in a very homogenous, very safe, ticky-tacky house lined street in white-bread Orange County — I was placed into the social strata marked “other.” This seemed to be okay with me as I found preferential solace, solitarily confined in my daydreams. I remember being so bored as a kid, my only refuge was the instant teleportation into adventures born out of my imagination. I was obsessed with cartoons as any healthy child should be, but the first transformative moment I had with art started with a Lord of the Rings poster my older sister’s had hanging in their room. It could have been a contact high from the overwhelming amount of weed smoke that permeated the walls of that room and I’m sure the acid they took enhanced the “vibe.” But here I was, 4 years old, completely immersed into the world of this poster. It suddenly seemed to come alive, the images started to move and grow out of it’s two-dimensional surface. I became transfixed, falling deeper into the imagery — the emotion and excitement that pierced through me was so foreign and wonderful — I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.
 

 It’s weird how memory works. The poster above, is probably the one that I had my experience with, but in my memory, it looked completely different. 

It’s weird how memory works. The poster above, is probably the one that I had my experience with, but in my memory, it looked completely different. 

Since then, I would spend hours making drawings of my own, inventing a world that was full of excitement and adventure, I just wanted to be anywhere but “here.” Being Japanese I was exposed to the enchanting animated movies by Hayao Miyazaki. I so yearned to switch places with the character Mei in My Neighbor Totoro, that I would have gladly given up my parents to ride that catbus, just once. The aesthetic and characters in Japanese animation had a profound effect on my development as a young artist and naturally, I gravitated to the graphic, “super flat” works of Takashi Murakami.

 CATBUS!!!!

CATBUS!!!!

In my teen years I discovered Tank Girl comics illustrated by Jamie Hewlett and the illustrations of Yoshitomo Nara. As a Thirteen year old with maturing disdain for life in the Suburbs, the anti-heroine of Nara’s Cosmic girl and Rebecca Bunk (Tank Girl) became my closest allies to my brooding teenage angst — me against the world — attitude. Tank Girl led me to the paintings of Phil Hale and his intelligent sarcasm and anarchistic symbolism found hidden in his work, hit me spot on.

 Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo Nara

Now, as I continue to educate myself as a painter. I have cultivated my critical eye and gravitate towards a more quiet, subtle, interaction with art. The brief chuckle gets forgotten. But paint in its own abstract material quality can evoke a more quiet mystery — the parts of painting that explain nothing but somehow draw you closer into the canvas — suddenly you realize you are staring into nothing. Careful, beautiful, soft rendering, juxtaposed with the choatic physicality of paint — representation and abstraction — gives painting an electricity that for me invokes the ‘humanness’ of life. Ooh sounds so deep doesn’t it?
Golucho, Justin Mortimer, Ruprecht Von Kaufmann, Michael Borremans, are a few I’ve added to my list of giants, Magicians in their own right for their ability to fuel my obsession with paint.

 proof- even at 3rd grade I was fucking over it

proof- even at 3rd grade I was fucking over it