Posts Tagged ‘hawaii’

Artist of the moment…….Toshiko Takaezu

Toshiko Takaezu was a very successful artist who  specialized in ceramics and earthenware.  Toshiko Takaezu was born in the year 1922 in Pepeekeo, Hawaii her parents of Japanese decent. For her collegiate education Takaezu attended the University of Hawaii located in Honolulu. Takaezu also attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Some themes in her ceramic work were tree forms and the moon.

A large influence on Toshiko Takaezu was the artist Toyo Kaneshige, himself a world renown potter. Toyo Kaneshige was deemed a living national treasure for his work with ceramics. Kaneshige acted as a mentor to Takaezu during the 1950s.

The artist was part of the teaching faculty at Princeton University and also the Cleveland Art Institute.

A book has been published featuring the life and career of Toshiko Takaezu. A link to this website promoting it is below:

In this clip a long documentary on the life and work of Toshiko Takaezu:

In this clip a poet laureate tells us what she admires about the work of Toshiko Takaezu. Its interesting how marks remind the poet of text and calligraphy.

Toshiko Takaezu is part of many prominent museum collections including the Smithsonian American Art Institute, the Butler Institute of American Art, and the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Toshiko Takaezu passed away in 2011 at the age of 88 years old.

Price range information:  Most vessels range between $2,000 and $10,000.


Artist of the moment….Arman Manookian….


Arman Manookian was a highly skilled artist that took his own life before the age of 28 years old. Though only working for little more than half a decade his works are celebrated for their wonderful use of color. Arman Manookian was born in the year 1904 in the city of Constantinople, Turkey.  I love his use of warm and cool colors, very pop and lively. The boldness reminds me pop art master Peter Max. I would say Manookian’s palette is slightly cooler, but mixed with the reds both artist’s landscapes exude warmth. His father published the Armenian newspaper.

Manookian, much like the Inuit peoples of North America, enjoyed using art to capture his culture and heritage of Hawaii. He was different as he wasn’t a native. His family came from the country of Armenia and other famous Armenian artists would be Gorky and Pinajian, the art worlds newest superstar.

Back in 1915 was the time of the genocide in Armenia. One day 600 highly educated people were gathered up and killed. Manookian’s father hid in his publishing head quarters of his newspaper. His father would die of the flu epidemic in 1917 and his mom sold the newspaper business and gave her son money to come to America.

Joined the armed forces and earned a great deal of positive reviews for some works he did for a Major McClellan.

Aloha! In this awesome clip view a montage of the artist’s paintings of Hawaii.

The artist worked in oils and gouache.

He passed away in 1931 taking his own life by ingesting poison.


Artist of the moment…..Hisashi Otsuka

Hisashi Otsuka is recognized as one of the few living master artists of Japan. Otsuka is certainly my favorite Japanese artist! He is great at design in a variety of genres associated with Eastern culture such as the fighting figures named Ronin. Ronin is another term for a samurai who is without a master. The artist is also well known for his elegant portraits of women dressed in spectacular robes. Otsuka is also famous for his choice of medium, ink on fabric. Otsuka was born in 1947 in Japan. He got his start in the art world thru designing textiles and kimono robes. He was able to apprentice under a master kimono maker in Taeko Jo.

In 1979 the artist relocated to Hawaii and would eventually become an American citizen.

Otsuka is just a great all around artist capable of working in a variety of mediums. He reminds me of the artists here that were prominent artists in the art deco world, but also made great inroads into the world of fine art. If you enjoy Otsuka be sure and check out the art of ERTE, a prominent artist of the 1920s whose great design instincts made his works highly sought after in many mediums such as paintings and clothes.


In this short interview the artist tells us about the unique applique he uses for his work with ink on silk. Part One.

Part Two of the interview with Hisasha Otsuka

Price range information:  Otsuka has produced many collotypes and lithographs that range in price from $100 to $700. He has also made paintings using lacquer based dyes that can range from $7,500 to $30,000. Works done using oils on silk, rather than the artist’s usual method of lacquer based dyes, can reach up to $20,000.

A link to the artist’s own personal website:

Has been part of shows in Beverly Hills, New York city, Indianapolis, New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Hawaii.

Otsuka grew up in Japan and visited Hawaii for the first time in

The main idea I take away from this artist is his ability to blend and mix thoughts. Eastern vs. Western painting ideas. Ancient composition skills from master Eastern artists of yesteryear blended with modern and bright vivid color palette of the modern era. Its great fun to watch artists that have extensive careers in design from industrialized areas of business art such as clothing or furniture design.


In this manner I am reminded of the great American artists that started with commercial illustration and moved onto lucrative and successful careers in fine art such as Steve Huston and Howard Terpning. Terpning is the most highly sought after Western themed painter that is alive today. Paintings of the artist have broken the 1 million dollar barrier. Both Huston and Terpning learned their design skills through working in the commercial advertising field as a poster painter of movies.