Before discovering oil painting in 1989, my primary loves were for languages and foreign cultures. My aptitude for languages and foreign cultures led to many opportunities in different parts of the world and eventually developed into a profession as a trilingual interpreter (English / Japanese / German) for many international clients. During this period I also began writing extensively and was awarded a national literary prize in Japan for my essay on Albrecht Duhrer entitled "Greatness or Aloof Narcissism."
I then experienced a long period of debilitating illness. It was during this period that a new direction for my life unknowingly unfolded when I experienced the urge to start drawing. This led to my eventual full recovery, and in just twelve short months I completed over one thousand figure drawings. Wanting to explore more, I submitted a portfolio of work from these drawings to Stanford University's Fine Arts Department and was accepted as a non-matriculated graduate student and studied under Nathan Oliveria. Not knowing who he was or even the difference between oil and acrylic, my artistic style emerged under his guidance and the distinct character of my brush strokes was pointed out, which I later understood as having elements of Japanese calligraphy from my childhood.
My creative process is at times a result of serious attention to detail or that of unconscious playfulness; it is the accumulation of happenstance: improvisational moments that occur during the process of exploration. Like a musician composing a piece of music, adding, modifying, changing, and often deleting scores, I then find that, without consciously planning to finish the piece, at some point it is done.
I often hear my viewers say that, whether its my oil paintings or black & white works on paper, they recognize certain elements or stories in the overlapping layers of oil colors, brushstrokes and lines. I find this exploration with the viewer mysterious and fascinating, particularly because of the abstract nature of my work. It is as if peeking into what Carl Jung defined as "the collective unconscious." I am most intrigued by the power and mystery of this visual language: art that taps into the commonality of experience, which lies beyond culture within the subconscious mind.
I owe much of who I am today as a painter to my mentor, Nathan Oliveira, whose insight and inspiration encouraged me to go beyond convention.
San Francisco, 2009