New York City was the place that sparked the art in me. Japan refined it. Hawaii defined it.
Early childhood memories are filled with fond recollections of playing with paint and clay in the basement of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and in my mom’s kitchen. I received my formal art training from the Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture in N.Y.C., where I immersed myself in a full spectrum of art including painting and Western calligraphy. It was at an art show at the Japan Society in N.Y.C., where I first became fully captivated by the power and beauty of abstract black and white forms that emerge when painting and calligraphy become one. Happily, this newfound connection I had made with the art of Japanese calligraphy inspired me to go to Japan, where I went to study Japanese calligraphy and painting with a master calligrapher and national treasure. It opened up new paths for me and enabled me to go well below the surface of my paintings to develop a new awareness of line and space.
Whatever I paint I must create a living image of it in my heart first, until I can make the transition to my art. Living in Hawaii for the last 20 years, enables me to be surrounded by the best of both worlds. My works in oil, tempera and sumi ink are an endless exploration of dynamic color combinations, lines, bold forms and a celebration of Eastern and Western influences artistically intertwined. East Asian art history is something I am fascinated by and received my graduate degree at UH-Manoa in Japanese Language and Calligraphy. I am an art instructor at Hanahau’oli School and the Honolulu Academy of Arts and teach art during the summers at Punahou Schools.
For more information, visit Lauren's website at www.laurenokanoart.com.