Posts tagged with ‘Hiroyuki Hamada’

  • Liganova interview

    In News on

    Last year I was interviewed by a German company Liganova which is starting an art collection.  They have published a couple of publications based on the interview:  One for their newsletter and one for their newly launched Ligastudios.

    Here is the original interview unedited with extra pictures.

     


    Photo by Richard Foulser

     

    How and when did you enter the art world?

    – tell us about your life in Japan

     

    I always liked making things when I was a kid. But I didn’t grow up in a family where that sort of stuff can be your job. My dad worked in Tokyo and commuted from our suberban house 1 1/2 hours away. I grew up to be a typical teenager: angry, feeling alienated for mostly immature reasons. Then my family had to move to the US for my dad’s job (I was 18 then). I got to be a minority in the US (we moved to a little town Wheeling, West Virginia) and I had to struggle to communicate . It was traumatic but also pretty funny if I look back now… I think every teenager should go though that. I think that set me up for pursuing art. I learned some English and I decided to go to a local community college where I met a teacher who showed me what you can do with art. He showed me that putting together lines, colors and etc. on a piece of paper can be like making music or writing stories. I was very naive, ha ha. And he was very good. I was good with my hands but I never knew how to put things together to make it really speak; I never knew that you could put words in between the lines and make it all deep and profound visually, you know? And I totally got hooked. After that I was basically stuck in studio drawing, painting and etc…

     

    Why New York? What did you think New York would give you that Japan didn’t at that time?

     

    I moved around quite a bit before I came to the NY area. In the US, there is this great thing called “artist residency”. You tell them that you are an artist and if they like what you do, they’d let you stay and give you a studio. Some places even pay you to be there. I even met my wife at one of those places. So, after I got my MFA, I was basically half homeless moving around those places. Can’t imagine how I did it now but I didn’t really care much except for what was going on in my studio (my wife would tell you that I still don’t ha ha). And after a while, I wanted to really show my work. And naturally NYC was the place to go. Back then (It was around 1997 or so) and probably now too, the numbers of venues you can show and artists population in NYC area were just staggering compared to other places. If you go to one of those residencies, you’d be amazed to see how many of the artists you meet would be from NYC. But today I wouldn’t care too much about where I work. The work comes first definitely.

     

    How did the NY art scene meet a young Hiroyuki?

    – were you already having pieces as you came to NYC (you were 18, right?)

     

    Coming to NYC, well, actually it wasn’t NYC. After a couple of weeks looking for a cheap place which doesn’t exist in NYC, I settled with a good sized space across the river in NJ. It was one of the sweat shop buildings in a big Cuban community. So it wasn’t really NJ either; it was Cuba. It can be seedy but it was mostly mellow and warm. I heard more Spanish than English. I remember the first taste of chicaron (what a concept, deep frying a chunky pork belly) and good cuban coffee. Have you had Cuban sandwich? The crispy bread outside and exquisite mixture of melting cheese, rich fat pork and the great accent with the pickles? Anyway, as soon as I got there I sent out slides with nice cover letters to galleries that I found to be good. I think I sent a couple of dozen. And they all came right back saying basically get lost, ha ha ha. The only place that was willing to show my work then was OK Harris Works of Art. I heard Ivan Karp would look at your work. So I went. I showed him slides and he said he would do a show with the first look. I wasn’t sure what he meant so I tried to show him the painting I brought, too. Then his son, Ethan, said “No, you don’t have to, he’s giving you a show . That’s good. He doesn’t even have to see it.” I still remember that well. They did my first solo show in NYC.

     


    One of the older pieces (#7, 1996, 16 x 16 x 4.75 inches, burlap, enamel, plaster, tar, wax and wood)

     

    Do you have a favourite show-space in NYC where you often go?

     

    Well, I’d love to say this museum or that gallery but every time I have extra time in the city, I just end up walking around watching people, looking at interesting ads, graffitis or buildings… NYC is just amazing visually in general.

     

    When did you have your first exhibition and knew you are really getting into the spotlight?

     

    Hmm… I don’t think I’ve felt that before… It’s really about myself and the work when it comes to shows. I am an audience too and there is nothing else better than to feel the impact of everything in the show working together to move you, and to see it happening as you place the work and do the lighting. I totally feel the spot light then, but it’s on the work, not on me.

     

    Have you ever played with the idea of opening your very own gallery? How do you choose where to show your work?

     

    I guess these questions are sort of like the front and the back of a same coin… I would want to open a place where I would want to show myself too but then I’d realize how tough it is to do it well. You have to have a space that maximizes the experience. You would want to treat the artists well and be capable in doing the right things. And what do you do with the expense that can be enormous? It’s easy to see that finding good places to show can be hard… So when I try to think about where to show I really can’t plan and wish for exactly what I want. It’s more like depending on my gut feeling and going with the venues that make me feel like I’m doing good to people who like the work. That often works for me. And I also don’t underestimate the people who try hard to make the show great. There often are happy surprises.


    An exhibition shot at Roger Williams University Gallery

     

    What does your art reflect the most? (you, your vision of the world, the world itself)

     

    I think everything counts really. But one thing that’s really sure is that I get motivated to go to the studio by what’s happening in my studio, and working there gives me more ideas and directions. So it’s like exploring what’s possible visually with what I do in my studio. As I learn, I get these layers of ways to deal with visual narratives and new vocabularies also develop, and as I keep going, I come out with more ways to see things differently.

     

    From what I know, you have started with drawing – how and why did you do this shift to sculpture?

     

    I think I wanted the experience to be more articulate and immediate. I do still like the suggestive, gestural quality of drawings I used to do but it’s also so gratifying, so mysterious and so strong to grasp those qualities as much as I can and tell it in 3D with every detail. How it actually happened was that, first, I picked up on the object like quality of drawings. It’s like seeing them as they are with their distinct presence with every imperfection as theirs, instead of seeing them as a picture of something that is supposed to be dipicted. I think a big part of modern/contemporary art has to do with this realization and appreciation of taking visual experiences as they are. In a way it’s sort of primitive compared to, say, like music. That led to paintings with textures and irregular edges. Then, they started to grow off the wall. At some point they were more like sculptures.

     


    Photo by Evan Harris

     

    Do you listen to music when you are working or perfer it to be in quiet?

     

    Sometimes I do. I think the music can shift my mood to get things going. Or the rhythm can be nice to keep the physical work going. But there are moments I have to keep it totally quiet. My guess is that certain processes need certain brian activity and sometimes music interferes with that… But I do love music.

     

    If you happen to put on tracks while you are working, which artists, bands, etc. do you listen to?

     

    Oh, that could be anything really. Lately, I’ve been really liking this band from the 70s called Popol Vuh. It sounds sort of familiar but it also sounds totally out of this world. The mellow speed and the atmosphere seem to work for the pieces I’m working on. I grew up listening to lots of aggressive band music and I still have a soft spot for it. For example, someone posted at Facebook the other day this band called Up Front, and I’ve been enjoying listening: it sounds sort of like Minorthreat, a lot of energy and there is a pleasant innocence about it. I’ve been listening to lots of classical music for the past years also. The level of development in non-descriptive expression in the field is just amazing. It’s such an inspiration and encouragement for working in the visual field. Ah, I can just keep going about music…

     

    I am so sorry, I know artists hate this question, but I simply HAVE TO ask this:

    where do you take your inspiration from – nature, art, architecture?

     

    I think anything can be inspiration if you are talking about how I get motivated to work: Anything that got put together well to have a cohesive whole that functions more than its parts. Like, you wake up and go outside and suddenly feel like the way the sun hits your face just explains everything about why you still want to be alive. You feel so fulfilled and happy. It’s just the same old sun and same old self in the morning but somehow the combination means something to you… And that can be a good inspiration. But like I said, it’s mostly the developments in my studio that inspire me to go further.

     

    Do you take decisions on the materials you will work with before you start with a piece or doese the piece itself tell you what materials to use?

     

    My work grew out of paintings so the idea of materials dictating the pieces is sort of new. I always thought it’s natural to paint every bit of surface to make sure it goes with the form. So far I’ve been mostly using plaster shells on foam/wood structures to paint on for all practical reasons (cost, ease of use and so on…). For a long time, I didn’t understand sculptors talking about materials with almost religious intensity. I mean, why would you expect a surface which is hardly uniform or predictable to do what it is supposed to do? Now I understand the seductiveness of the materials and the convenience and the thrill of counting on happy surprises and so on but I still like the flexibility and the super real presence which a meticulous paint job can present. So if you see different materials in my work, they are most likely painted or stained that way.

     


    A stained plaster piece looking unlike plaster.  #68, 2007-09, 41 x 23 x 20 1/2 inches, enamel, oil, plster, tar and wax

     

    Do you as an artist have a favourite artist?

    please give some examples of artists you like from different epoches, different styles, etc.

     

    Hmm… That’s tough… I’ve got my own interest in process and direction and I look at my work with that all the time so my capability of appreciation is somewhat skewed I’m afraid. Also, when I started out, I meticulously tried to avoid doing what other people were doing. I was sort of afraid of getting influences I guess. Also, I have a rather more standoffish relationship with visual art than, say, with music. I would be often totally taken by music, almost getting drowned with the pleasure. But when I look at visual stuffs, I’m often more objective in general. More interested in seeing alternate ways and investigating than consuming it for pleasure perhaps… I think it’s only in the past a few years that I’m becoming more open to seeing and enjoying as I feel more grip on my own work. But I’ve always enjoyed Martin Puryear’s work. I like the forms he works with. The way the work relates to you in the space is also nice: And the subtle playfulness he puts. I also like Anish Kapoor’s work. I saw his Bean piece in Chicago a few years ago, and it was so encouraging and happy to see people totally being fascinated with it. I mean, I saw people literally dancing around it and having fun being with it. And I also enjoy lots of figurative works. That’s what I started out with myself (I used to love doing figure drawing). I think Basquiat is just a marvelous painter. The sense of color, the way he composes in such striking ways, the confidence in lines with such fragile subtlety and doing all that with such spontanaity is just amazing. I see many others that I enjoy online, people like Kris Kuksi, Ron van der Ende, Eddie Martinez, Christina Bothwell, Blu, Jen Stark, Karim Hamid, just off my head randomly…, and many more I guess… I just had fun seeing the Nick Cave show in NYC. When I was in school, I looked at artists like Jesper Johns, Rauschenberg, Kiki Smith, Eva Hesse, Tapies, Louis Bourgeois, and so on. But they all came in through other students’ works that sort of emulated them. It’s interesting to learn that way. You see what the essential qualities are for the students and you experience the first hand account of dealing with the materials…

     

    You don’t give titels to your work – why?

     

    I’m really interested in what I get by combining visible things, and I don’t want to make it about stories, references, symbols and such, at least not on the conscious level. I mean, I want the visual language to hit your guts hard, not the theories, anecdotes, or background stories sort of making you feel something in wishy washy ways. And also I don’t want to limit the work inside of my narrow cultural and social constraints. So I figured the easiest thing I can do to put the focus on the substance is not to work with those things. If they creep in, I just try to stay away from them. It’s very inefficient but it’s very effective when it works. I think I can get to the bottom of what we are that way. So not giving them descriptive names is a way to make sure that it doesn’t imply things aside from what the forms are doing. But it’s probably something to do with my laziness too. I know that you could come up with titles that can enhance what I’m trying to do… So oh well…

     


    #59 (detail), 2005-08, 20 diameter x 36 inches, enamel, oil, plaster, tar and wax


    #59, 2005-08, 20 diameter x 36 inches, enamel, oil, plaster, tar and wax

     

    Where do you take your friends to when they are coming to visit you in New York?

     

    I don’t know… I’ll ask my Facebook friends, ha ha ha. I don’t get to eat nice exotic stuffs out in Eastern Long Island where I live, so I might try to convince them to go for nice Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Indian or Chinese… If you are talking about food that is. I used to like walking around in Chinatown looking at fish, veggies thinking about cooking. Nice sushi would be good too. If there are good shows, gallery hopping in Chelsea is also nice. But like I said, what I like to do there is just taking a walk looking at things, people, buildings and etc. I always see interesting things in NYC…

     

    How do you relax? What do you do in your free time?

     

    I go to my studio ha ha ha. I can always work on something… I have an electric guitar set up and I have fun with that sometimes. It’s a nice thing to bounce on when I feel like I am stuck with my work. Or when I just have the urge. I think I have some sort of addiction to loud, distorted guitar sound… I also keep sketch books everywhere and I like to draw shapes and things when I have time. Also, my wife and I watch TV shows sometimes. We’ve been enjoying “Breaking Bad” lately. What a fabulous show.

     

    What do you get to read MAGAZINES or BOOKS more often? Which are your favourite magazines?

     

    I haven’t read any magazines for a long while… At least not the actual paper versions. I really depend on internet for news and articles now. I used to read lots of books too and I aways had a big pile next to my bed, but not much reading lately. It’s just that the time is limited since we got two small kids. But I’ve read a couple of Malcom Gladwell’s books recently and I really liked them.

     

    Which 2-3 names in the fashion industry from former era do you see as iconic?

     

    Hmm…you got me. What can I say. I’m the kind of guy who shows up at my own opening in a Dickies jump suit making my wife’s eyes roll with dismay…

     


    Photo by Evan Harris

     

    Who are the most influential names in art today?

     

    Not the individuals, but I think TV shows and movies totally rule on that. And in terms of the impact and the quality too perhaps. I don’t get to watch many but some shows I’ve watched are just amazing: Like Breaking Bad, Wire, Sopranos, or some episodes from Battlestar Galactica, for examples. You get great writing, camera work, acting, set design, music, sound effects, visual effects and on and on. I just think the total experience from them is the culmination of art history on the planet. Have you watched District 9? Just amazing.

     

    Which of them has left an imprint on your style (if at all)?

     

    Well, things get in me and I must express something in my work, but like I said, I don’t make my work about anything specific so that’s something I can’t really answer…

     

    What are you working on right now?

     

    Right now I have 4 pieces in progress. They seem to be freer into space and they speak a bit more as shapes. I’ll see how the surface gets treated. I started out as a painter so working with the surface is a very special and fun process for me. I’ve been also trying a few resin materials instead of plaster since the pieces are a bit bigger and more complex.


    Snap shot of the studio 1/21/12 (iphone photo with Autostitch)

     


     

     

  • Group Show in NYC Opens This Week

    In News on

    The show is organized by my friend, Frank Webster, with Paul Brainard.  There are more than 20 people in the show so there will be lots to see.

    Die Like You Really Mean It:

    October 26 – December 3, 2011

    Opening reception:  October 26, 6-9PM

    Allegra LaViola Gallery

    179 East Broadway

    New York, NY 10002

    917-463-3901

    Featuring works of:

    Erik BensonPaul BrainardPia DehneHiroyuki HamadaElizabeth HueyErika Keck,
    Emily Noelle LambertFrank LentiniEddie MartinezBrian MontouriBryan OsburnKanishka Raja,
    Erika RaneeTom SanfordChristopher SaundersKristen SchieleRyan SchneiderOliver Warden,
    Frank WebsterEric White and Doug Young

    You can see some works included in the show here and here.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Aureus Contemporary at cutlog, Paris

    In News on
  • Lori Bookstein Fine Art Opening Photos

    In News on

    Here are some images from the opening night…

     

    Hiroyuki Hamada: Two Sculptures

    IN GALLERY II

    September 15 – October 15, 2011

    Lori Bookstein Fine Art

    138 TENTH AVENUE NEW YORK NY 10011

    Tel 212-750-0949

    www.LORIBOOKSTEINFINEART.COM

     

  • Die Like You Really Mean It

    In News on

     

    Participating artists:

    Erik Benson, Paul Brainard, Pia Dehne, Hiroyuki Hamada, Elizabeth Huey, Erika Keck,
    Emily Noelle Lambert, Frank Lentini, Eddie Martinez, Brian Montouri, Bryan Osburn, Kanishka Raja,
    Erika Ranee, Tom Sanford, Christopher Saunders, Kristen Schiele, Ryan Schneider, Oliver Warden,
    Frank Webster, Eric White and Doug Young

     

    Allegra LaViola Gallery | 179 East Broadway | New York, NY 10002
    T 917.463.3901 E gallery@allegralaviola.com
    www.allegralaviola.com

     

    Gallery hours
    Wednesday – Saturday: 12-6PM
    Sunday: 1-6PM

    Opening Reception:  October 26, 6-9PM

     

    Allegra La Viola Gallery is pleased to present Die Like You Really Mean It, a group exhibition on view
    from October 26 – December 7. The exhibition is curated by artists Paul Brainard and Frank Webster
    and features new paintings and sculpture by over twenty artists living in the New York metro area.

    The curators have assembled an energetic and dynamic show, where each work registers as a highly
    charged expression of the individual artist. Brainard and Webster have maintained a special interest
    in choosing works that register not as intentionally ironic but rather as sincerely and at times
    viscerally rendered. This exhibition celebrates painting as a healthy, living, and variegated mode of
    art making in New York.

    The works included in this exhibition are often resistant to purely formalist and conceptual concerns,
    engaging themes that extend beyond the material media of painting. Figurative and scenic elements
    may invite narrative readings while color is used forcefully, liberally, or selectively. The expressive
    qualities of color among the works range widely from Oliver Warden’s transformative explosions of
    color, to Hiroyuki Hamada’s restrained, bi-chromatic capsule-like wall reliefs. Also of concern among
    the works is the relationship between the human being and its environment, exemplified by Erik
    Benson and Kristen Schiele’s depictions of inhabited indoor and outdoor settings, Pia Dehne’s
    complex compositions in which figure and ground are enmeshed through lyrical patterns of line and
    geometry, and Kanishka Raja’s use of pattern to unite various specific locations depicted in the same
    visual space.

    Atypically, this show exalts in its contrasts. The works of Chris Saunders and Brian Montouri could
    best sum this up. Saunder’s paintings are slick and calm on the surface but belie an unsettling and
    subversive content, while Montouri’s vision is a veritable disgorgement of expressionist storm and
    bluster. Each artist pushes the medium with equal passion, but in radically different directions, with
    starkly different results. This passion however is one thing all of the artists in Die Like You Really
    Mean It share in common.

    —Paul Brainard, Kristen Lorello and Frank Webster

     

  • Damir Doma Opening

    In News on

    I’ve been contacted by the office of Damir Doma, a French fashion designer, saying that my work is an inspiration for his Autumn Winter 2011-12 collection.  It’s great to hear that the work spoke to him.  To celebrate the opening of his space at L’Eclaireur, they are showing a few pieces of mine along with his work, his creative setting and etc.  There will be an opening at the space on 9/13 from 5-9pm.  The event happens as L’Eclaireur participates in Paris Design Week.  The event was made possible by the generous cooperation of Bodo Vincent Andrin, Founder & Managing Director of LIGANOVA, who is loaning the pieces for the duration of the show (September 13 – 22).  This marks the first public display of works from LIGANOVA’s LIGAart Collection.  It’ll be a fun thing to stop by if you are in Paris.

     

     

  • Upcoming at Lori Bookstein Fine Art

    In News on

    #63 (2006-10). Burlap, enamel, oil, plaster, resin, tar, wax and wood, 45 x 40 x 24 inches

    Hiroyuki Hamada: Two Sculptures

    IN GALLERY II

    September 15 – October 15, 2011

    Lori Bookstein Fine Art

    138 TENTH AVENUE NEW YORK NY 10011

    Tel 212-750-0949

    www.LORIBOOKSTEINFINEART.COM

  • Working with 7th graders

    In News on

    I’ve been working with 7th graders to put up a show.  There is a fancy private school in my area with a
    program that lets the kids pick artists, interview them, do studio visits, curate a show with them, make
    a catalog, do the opening, and do everything else that’s involved in doing an official exhibition for the public.

    OK, they are 7th graders so they get help from their teacher.  Sue Heatley, besides working at the school,
    is also a sculptor herself and she is experienced in working with art institutions.  Please do not underestimate
    the tremendous feat of giving a good educational experience to a few dozen 7th graders while organizing
    a professional looking show!  She’s done a great job.

    I will have three pieces in the show.  And Drew will also have 3  pieces.  Let’s show up for the opening and make
    the kids happy!

    Here is the info about the show from the school:

    The Ross School Gallery presents its annual student-curated exhibition,
    highlighting the work of professional artists from the community. This year’s
    theme is “Passion and Process.” Curated by Ross School seventh graders,
    under the direction of art teacher Sue Heatley, the show will feature works
    by Hiroyuki Hamada and Drew Shiflett.  The students will host an Opening
    Reception on Wednesday, May 25, from 4 to 6pm. The public is invited.

    As in past years, the students took on various rolls to organize and present the
    show: they visited the artists in their studios, selected work, designed the
    installation, organized publicity, and wrote and produced a catalogue.

    They also had the opportunity to work with each of the artists in their studios
    and will showcase their creations alongside the artists in the show.

    Mr. Hamada’s sculptures start with wood, foam and plaster, and they are
    finished with textured and painted surfaces. Ms. Shiflett uses handmade papers,
    pencil and ink, watercolor and conte crayon with, as she says, “a focus on line,
    light, and texture” to create intricately detailed pieces that fall somewhere between
    drawing, painting and sculpture. The work of both artists is the result of very
    time-consuming and detailed processes.

    “Passion and Process” will be on view at the Ross Gallery through June 15.

  • Roger Williams University Show Photos

    In News on

     

    To view the full photo set (15 photos), please go to the main part of the site and click “PHOTOS”.  They are under “Roger Williams University Show
    2/23-3/30, 2011”.  Make sure to click on the thumb nails for large images (1500 pix in longer dimension).  You can also see somewhat smaller
    versions (faster loading/navigation perhaps) in a Facebook photo album at Hiroyuki Hamada Art.  And, you can read more about the show here and here.

  • Roger Williams University Show Is UP

    In News on

    Installing a show never gets boring. It’s usually filled with improvisations and surprise gifts of time and space. You go get your rental truck only to find the office is closed and you tell yourself that it wasn’t supposed to snow today… You finally get your truck and find it stuck in snow, making you wonder if it’s even possible to do it today. But things usually fall into the right places just like it did this time. We managed to hang the show with a tight schedule thanks to fine planning by the curator, Jess Frost, and the generous support of Roger Williams University.

    The school sits in the beautiful sea town of Bristol, Rhode Island. The school is named after Roger Williams who led an exciting life as a believer of freedom of religion and separation of church and state in 17th century North America. He was also an expert in native American languages (Thanks to Peter Edlund, a wonderful painter, for pointing me to Roger Williams’ life story).

    We have 7 paintings by Christopher Saunders and 6 sculptures of mine in the show. The show’s looking great and I’m happy and proud to be a part of it.

    WhiteNoise no.6 by Christopher Saunders, 2009, Oil on Linen, 24 x 18 in

    #45 by Hiroyuki Hamada, 2002-05, burlap, enamel, oil, plaster, resin, tar and wax, 20 x 25 x 25 in

    WhiteNoise no.1 by Christopher Saunders, 2008, oil on linen, 24 x 18 in

    #38 by Hiroyuki Hamada, 2000-02, burlap, enamel, oil, plaster and tar, 27 diameter x 13 in

    An Exhibition of Paintings by Christopher Saunders and Sculpture by Hiroyuki Hamada
    Roger Williams University
    School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation
    One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809
    1-800-458-7144
    Gallery web site
    Direction
    Campus map

    Curator Jess Frost
    Art and Estate Archive
    info@artand estate.com
    646-391-5663

    The show will be up through 3/30/11

    You can see a blog post about the show by the university art web site VARTS@RWU here