Monday, April 28, 2008

Revenge of Meat Space I - Roger Shimomura

Roger Shimomura, The Gook, acrylic on canvas, 2003

Last week I got to meet Roger Shimomura who came to SOU as a visiting artist in conjunction with the show Artist as Social Critic at the Schneider Museum of Art that includes his work. I've known his work for quite a while as a) he's a well-known artist b) he's a well-known Japanese-American artist c) people would see my stuff and say, "You should check out Roger Shimomura" d)he's done some stuff with my dad ("well-known poet," "well-known Japanese-American poet" etc.) e) he was good buddies with Frank Okada (well-known painter, well-known Japanese-American painter-etc) who I studied with at University of Oregon.
Anyhow, I finally got to have lunch with him and see him lecture on his work. This was very cool because a) Roger Shimomura is a hard-core artist who's been bringin' it for a long time. You learn a lot and get inspired by being around such people. b) Visually, he's got serious game. You learn a lot and get inspired by seeing refined, thoughtful work. c) Roger's a cool, approachable, good guy. d) The generational thing. It's always inspiring to realize that what we're able to do now, artistically, is built off of the developments and paths blazed by earlier artists. Whether we appreciate it or not, it's still true. e) Got me thinking about The Camps (Japanese-American Internment Camps) again, and realizing that keeping things alive and in the public eye is a big function of art. f) We got to talk about Frank Okada who died in 2000, and I miss Frank. So, check out Shimomura's work if you're not familiar with it. It's strong stuff.

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