Every once in a while I check if “but does it float” has a new entry. The site stands
out, among many visually oriented sites, in showing intriguing images lead by
brief sentences. The text often act as a springboard to lift you up where the images
are displayed or they can playfully set the rhythm to the visual composition that
follows. The curators of the site, Folkert Gorter and Atley G. Kasky, know how to
put up great shows tastefully, beautifully and effectively. Here are some examples.
Here is what they did with my work (below). Somehow the vastness of the text at
the beginning takes you to a place where you can let your imagination fly. It’s so
clever and effective.
It’s no surprise that as an artist I believe art is good. Not just paintings or
sculptures but anything that can make me see new possibilities, open my eyes
to new realities and make me feel some sort of awe inspiring flow that’s
bigger than my usual self. And simply put, there are amazing things out there
that make me say “wow, I’m glad to be alive to see that!”. But actually getting
out and trying to help artists to make things is a tricky matter; especially
when it’s done publicly. When I see people debating about it, I feel helpless.
I have no words to say if someone claims that we have more urgent issues
than people having fun listening to music or painting pictures. And how
do you decide what’s good for people and what’s not?
That’s why it’s so refreshing and encouraging to see people just going
ahead and doing what they believe by clever ideas and practical solutions.
Last year I had such a moment when I got to know about
the Artists & Audiences Exchange program of New York Foundation for the Arts.
It’s a part of their grant program which basically give away money to selected
applicants. But they tell the selected applicants that the part of their money
will be given only if they make up a public program for the people in NY state.
OK, so when I got the money from NYFA last year, my response was, “Ah,
what? It’s not a free money? I don’t get it. They are not just giving it to me?
What???.”. Well, that was just before I realized the cleverness and significance
of the program. It’s so great to know that there are smart, capable people
looking after arts out there. Thank you NYFA.
After thinking about the program for a few months I decided to give a talk at a
local library, Hampton Library, in Bridgehampton, NY. Its building has just
gotten an extensive renovation and the director of the library has been very
positive and welcoming about the idea (my wife used to work there!). So the
talk is going to be on Saturday May 15th 3:00PM. I will be talking about my
sculpture making process with lots of images. It’ll be relaxed, informal and
hopefully fun. Please let the library know if you are interested in attending.
I will see you there if you are around!Contact information for the Hampton Library in BridgehamptonFacebook Page for the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton
Hiroyuki Hamada is a 2009 Artist Fellowship recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). This presentation is co-sponsored by Artists & Audience Exchange, a NYFA public program.
I’m very happy and moved that my new friend, Fernan Ozel, from Istanbul has put
up a Facebook page for my work. It’s really great that someone half across the
planet reaches out to you and helps you out spreading the words about what you
are doing. Thank you so much Fernan! I still remember shooting slides of my
work and sending them out to be seen by galleries/curators. We definitely live in
a different world today.
And if you are into Facebook, please join us!
It’s been fun and exciting exchanging emails with people at Aureus Contemporary
for the past weeks setting up details for Art Chicago. It all started when I spotted
really nice paintings by Karim Hamid at BOOOOOOOM. I was taken by them
enough to contact the artist to tell him how much I enjoyed. Karim kindly invited
me to come see them in person at one of the art fairs in NYC last month. I checked
out some of his latest pieces there and we enjoyed chatting.One of Karim’s paintings
Shortly after that, I got an email from the director of Aureus Contemporary,
Andreas Kuefer, asking me to team up for Art Chicago next month. So there we go.
Aureus Contemporary will have a 850 sf booth and it’ll put emphasis on three
artists, Karim Hamid, Sara Carter, and myself. There will be six pieces of mine on
view. And you get to see more from Karim also.
Here is some info about Art Chicago taken from its site:
A few years ago I had a great experience in working with people at the
Swarthmore College, PA for their gallery show. At the opening I met one of the
art professors, Michael Cothren, who was working on a college art text book
called “ART A Brief History”. He was very generous in complimenting my work
and I had a lot of fun talking to him. A few weeks later, he emailed me saying that
he was thinking about putting my work in the upcoming edition of the text book.
Of course I didn’t have any problem with it…An image from the Swarthmore College show. The full photo set can be seen at “PHOTOS” at the main part of the site.
So I’ve been wondering if that will actually happen. And last week, the book
came in the mail. In it, I do see a picture of my work and very nice descriptions of
the work by professor Cothren.Amazon‘s got it.
It’s really exciting to reach out to people learning about art and to take
a part in more fun in their lives. As I wrote a few month ago, I myself
got into art through community college education.
Well, I know, it’s sort of weird and surreal. Last time I felt like this
was when my wife decided to go out with me ten years ago. I was like,
“wow, cute woman like that actually wants to be with me?”. Good
things do actually happen sometimes.
Images from Salomon Contemporary Warehouse exhibition (East Hampton, NY)
which ran from Oct. 11 to Nov. 30, 2009, have been added to the site. The set has
total of 28 images and it comes in two parts. To see them, go to
the main part of the site and click “PHOTOS”. Hope you enjoy! Here are a few of
them from the set. You can see bigger pictures at the site.
Working with the community college was a special event for me since I myself got
into art when I was in a community college in a small town, Wheeling, West
Virginia. Three years after my father, who worked in the steel industry in Japan,
took his family to the small town in the US, I met a community college teacher,
Karl Jacobson. As a foreign student struggling to get by the school assignments
by basically looking up all the words, Mr. Jacobson’s skill in speaking through
his drawings was just beyond magical. Until then, I had no idea that some
shapes and lines on a piece of paper could move people like music or books could.
I was like a grown man with measles: shaken up and helplessly driven away to
pursue what I saw. So having an exhibition and a talk at BCC was my way of
giving back to where I got it.
On October 2nd, my wife and I drove up to Berkshires to meet the typical
community college crowd at one of their art class rooms. They were just as they
were at my community college 20 years ago in another state 500 miles away;
they were from all kinds of backgrounds, young and old. I knew that some of them
were there against their own will (sort of), just to get the school credit. So I
wanted to make it as painless and hopefully as fun and interesting as possible.
Two most asked questions in the past talks had been “what are they made of?” and
“how did you do that?”. So I simply decided to tell them how I made the pieces:
hands on, practical sorts of information. I got 64 images of sculptures in progress
that included the very first idea sketches and finished pieces with some detail shots;
and I tried to follow the steps as I encouraged them to ask questions.
The talk went really smooth. People asked questions that totally complemented the
content of the talk. And nothing beats seeing people coming up to me totally excited
about the work as I am: letting me know that I did share something good with them.
I am pretty sure Mr. Jacobson would have approved of the talk.
Here is a picture of Karl Jacobson with one of his amazing paintings, “Musicians”.
I still feel weird to think that he is not with us anymore. He passed away early this
year. It was so sudden and totally unexpected to all.
He painted amazing pictures that changed my life completely.
Ten years after moving to East Hampton, I am about to have my first solo
show in the area. My connection to East Hampton is merely coincidental.
I invited myself over to live with my then girl friend (now my wife), a writer,
Evan Harris, in 1999. We met at one of the artist residencies (McDowell
Colony) in 1998. After the residency was over, Evan decided to move
back to her home town, which was East Hampton, from New York City.
I moved from Union City, New Jersey where I lived in one of the sweat
shop buildings illegally (oh, the good old days…).
Ten years can be a while. We now live in a semi-country setting with
two dogs and a vegetable garden. We have produced two small children
(five and three year old boys). And we have made many friends in the
area. This is our home that I feel to belong. So having a show here is a
very special event.
The show will be at Salomon Contemporary Warehouse. The opening
is on Sunday 11 October 2009, 4 to 7 PM. The show will be up though
Sunday 15 November. The gallery is open Saturday and Sunday noon to 4 and
The exhibition at Berkshire Community College is up. I selected five pieces for
the Koussevitzky Art Gallery which is a narrow, sort of a cave like space
located next to the theater in the arts building. The plan below shows the
unusual space (sorry for the small fonts. The whole space is about 10 x 33 feet
Before I actually getting to the gallery, I tried laying out the pieces in my head
aided by the pictures and the plan supplied by the gallery. When I got there, I
was quite confident in hanging and I actually put the pieces right up where I
planed in my head. After the long day of driving and hanging the show, the
gallery director, Benigna Chilla, generously treated me with her cooking (sauted
shrimps and clams in creamy sauce with little accents with lemon and rosemary
served over rice. Yes, it was good.). I got to hear her talk about organizing
a show of Cuban artists among other intriguing stories. It was very cool evening.
Next day I went back to document the show and it was all too clear that the
installation was not working too well. I spent extra a few hours making sure that
the flow among the pieces are well coordinated. I wanted to have a solid feeling
of the show defined by the characters of the pieces speaking in harmony. After
spending all morning struggling, I finally got it right. It was one of the toughest
show to hang, but at the end, it turned out as one of my favorites.
Here are some of the images in smaller versions. The complete photo set with larger
photos will be added at the “PHOTOS” section of the main part of the site later.
I hope you enjoy.