Enlightenment by Tadashi Hayakawa | Artwork Network
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Oil Paint on Canvas (Cotton)
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May 2011, Power of Spirit (Solo Exhibition), Artwork Network Gallery, Denver, CO
About the Artist
From early childhood in Japan, I was immersed in the creative field. I grew up with a father who was always at the drawing board designing light fixtures and furniture. When he was young he wanted to become a fine artist—a painter, but was not allowed to pursue his dream because he was the only son. So he passed his dream to me.
At my elementary school, I met a young, passionate and determined artist/teacher, Toshiyuki Tanaka, who eventually became one of the most prominent contemporary artists in Japan. He taught me fine art both at school and at his studio. I recall my enjoyment just being with him and listening to his dream of becoming a great artist. His passion and determination influenced me more than his techniques of drawing, painting and sculpting.
I belonged to the drama group at NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai), working professionally as a child actor from 8 to 15 years old. I was trained not to be afraid to express my emotions in life and how to concentrate at an instant. This power of concentration has helped tremendously in the process of my creation.
At age 19, I decided to leave my family and become independent and came to the United States to study art. I first studied at Los Angeles City College and was greatly influenced by art instructor, Nina George, and my marriage to writing student Gina Veldes.
With Nina’s encouragement, I continued studying fine art at the Otis Art Institute where, in 1969, I received an M.F.A. degree.For several years after graduation, I participated in numerous art experiments, gallery exhibitions, and art happenings. But I slowly moved away from fine art to commercial art—from a Bohemian lifestyle to owning my own graphic company and a more materialistic life.
At age 50, I looked deeply into myself and saw the emptiness that stemmed from my disconnection with my talent and vision in the field of fine art. I decided to return home, to the house of fine art, to once again experiment, create, draw, paint… to express myself in the way closest to my heart. At this turning point, I saw clearly that to stay with my work I needed to pay attention to, and focus on, my own creative needs and visions—regardless of outside criteria. I saw that what I needed was to express on canvas who I am and what I care about.
I tried to recapture and develop my visions and searched for images to express them. I rediscovered my most deeply felt experience... the excitement, and power and joy of my daughter’s birth. That experience connected me to the palpable and mysterious act of creation and to the spiritual force behind all creation—behind all living things. At the time of her birth I was completing my M.F.A. thesis and my theme was Birth—the reproduction of all living things.
The birth process of my daughter through her mother made me acutely aware of life’s paradoxes—among them, joy/pain, strength/fragility, and clarity/mystery.
This new awareness of the creative force took me back to my childhood and I recaptured the early wonder I felt when I beheld the many manifestations of nature.
For over four and a half years, since the beginning of 1992, I have been immersed once again in the world of fine art—experimenting, creating and developing. And as I do this, I am also reclaiming my cultural strengths—awareness of nature, sensitivity to beauty, awareness of the yin/yang principle of life.
I am allowing these cultural sensitivities to flow from my heart and from my hara, to spill and create new forms on paper and canvas."
From the book “Power of Spirit”, 1996
Enlightenment by Tadashi Hayakawa
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