Sunday, April 10, 2011

Joel Nakamura

My love for Joel Nakamura's work started before I ever began collecting art or curating. In college, many many moons ago, I came across his work in a random magazine and instantly was enthralled. So many details, such interesting characters and exquisite colors! I cut the image out of the magazine and pasted it inside a book I was putting together for an Art Education Class book titled "What is Art?". I was questioning if illustration was to be considered "Art" and of course, I knew it to be true, but you had to make the book full of opposing images and leave the answers up the viewer. Joel's work was a large painting on the side of a semi-truck advertising Corona Beer, it was a complex image with many hidden characters and objects. The first time a beer company actually caught my attention with a campaign. Yes, advertising can contain "art".

The next time I thought of Joel was about 6 years later while taking an Illustration Art class. We had to write about our favorite illustrators. Something I hadn't thought too much about, but I had already started collecting children's books so it wasn't a hard topic to write about. Narrowing down to 4 artists only, I thought of the impact Joel's work had on me so many years before and chose him as one the illustrators to focus on. I found his website, copied his bio photo where he was wearing an odd hat with "horns", and then learned more about his background and techniques. He is influenced by Mexican art and paints and hammers on metal, creating time-consuming and thought provoking images often around mythical stories. It was great to learn about a technique not commonly used in current art. I admired his work even more than before. The class assignment was actually useful!

Around the same time of the paper, I started an apprenticeship with an established designer who collected art and worked with many of his artists friends. The first day on the job (his home), there across the living room I spied something very familiar. It's was an original Joel Nakamura. Wow. Strange coincidence, small world. And the designer was personal friends with Joel. Soon after I found myself on the phone talking with Joel and he was giving me advice on being an illustrator (I was under some strange illusion I could be one). I was thrilled to be getting advice from such a talented man, and he had an amazing peacefulness about it that made me immediately feel comfortable and like an old friend. Later that same year, Joel came out with a children's book and was signing them in Pasadena (Joel lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico). I of course made sure to be there and he signed and doodled inside my copy, I was thrilled and it was nice to finally meet him in-person.

Years later, I was curating my first big art show and I knew I had to include Joel. He agreed with much gumption and completed three beautiful pieces that all sold almost immediately. The next year I ran into him at San Diego Comic Con, he was watching the booth of the designer I use to work with. I invited him to be in another show I was curating, this time we had a long talk over the phone discussing the true nature of people, it was a good conversation and I left feeling like I had a true friend in Joel Nakamura. He's the real deal, down to earth and modest with an explosion of creativity emenating from his fingertips. Keep up the great work, Joel.

New Painting Joel just sent me a preview of. :)

going, Going, GONE!

Last 24hrs (some only 12hrs) for above art ema for Japan.
100% Proceeds go to Charity.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Give2Asia Post

Yay! Give2Asia wrote about the Ema Art Auction :) Read HERE

Ema Art Auction for Artists Help Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Fund - Give2Asia

First Pieces donated to Ema Art Auction
will be ending this Sunday night (PCT).
Click HERE to see all art in one place.

100% of Proceeds to Benefit Give2Asia Earthquake & Tsunami 2011 Fund

Please keep in mind that this is a Charity Auction and not just an art sale. It's not about getting a "steal". It's about contributing to an important cause and getting a "Thank You" in return with original art. These are talented artists that donated 100% of their time, creativity and proceeds for help with the recovery of Japan due to the recent Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Reactor Emergencies. Please bid generously and avoid "sniping". MANY MANY THANKS!
Sincerely, Christina Conway/Curator

Ema are traditional small Japanese wooden tablets left at shrines with an image on one side, and a wish or a prayer on the other. To help Japan relief efforts, spread awareness, support and hope, artists are creating ema with their own positive heartfelt imagery for auction to benefit Artists Help Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund at Give2Asia.

Chubu modeling donated ema art "Love Delivery Truck" by Aaron Meshon

Taking inspiration from these simple, traditional and specifically Japanese gestures of wish-making/prayers this auction allows everyone of any culture, religious background and dynamics a similar talisman, using the "if you will it, it will be" thought belief. A small work of art for a big cause.

One side has been left blank for its new owner to write his or her own wishes or prayers.

Bidding begins Sunday, April 3, at eBay Giving Works for Give2Asia. Bidding for each ema is open for seven days. More ema artwork will be added through April 20.


Aaron Meshon

Allison Sommers

Amy Crehore

Amy Huddleston

Axelhoney / Melissa Anderson Contreras

Celëne Petrulak

Fawn Fruits / Daniel Lim

Jeya / Jeni Yang

Joel Nakamura

Kelly Vivanco

Lilly Piri

Lorena Alvarez

MALL / May Ann Licudine

Yoskay Yamamoto

X03 / Zoë Williams

Harmony Gong

Audrey Kawasaki

Kevin Cassidy

Florence Pacho

Mar Hernández

Ken Garduno

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

PSA for Japan

Very touching and well made PSA for Japan.
Please take a moment to experience.

Thank you.

You can help here: