Kenichi Hoshine was born in 1977 in Japan, raised in New Jersey, and educated at the School Of Visual Arts in New York City. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Kenichi’s work has been exhibited and collected all over the world. He was selected by London’s Saatchi Gallery to show at their booth at the Pulse Art Fair in New York City. He was also chosen as a semi-finalist in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery. He currently teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. We were fortunate enough to catch up with him and ask him a variety of questions. Read below for the full interview…
The more people I interview, the more I realize that people whom born in Japan migrate to the East Coast of the U.S. for a more lucrative artist career. Do you have any feelings towards Japan’s creative environment, good or bad?
Kenichi: I was born in Japan and came to the U.S. when I was three years old. So it wasn’t like I came to the States to further my art career or anything like that. I didn’t have a choice [laughs]. Japan has one of the most interesting creative environments in the world and it is very good. In a nutshell, the term “wabi-sabi” describes the Japanese aesthetic very well. At times, that concept permeates through my work as well.
Has your approach as an artist changed since you were involved in the ‘Institutional’ environment of learning?
Kenichi: I do a lot less pre-planning and let more accidents happen.
Your artwork is attributed to numerous charities. What does it feel like to use your talents in order to raise money for a cause?
Kenichi: I’m neither well-known nor wealthy, but if I could contribute in any way to a positive cause, I try to do so. I still find it very absurd and very amazing that people will pay money for artwork. I am always humbled by the support and generosity of the people who know my work and this is one of the few ways I can pay it back.
Polite Winter is described as a ‘visual conversation’. What kind of emotion and discussions do you try to evoke from your audience with this particular gallery?
Kenichi: When James (Jean) and I started the project, we had no preconceived concepts or ideas about it. We didn’t have any rules and it felt like a selfish, visual playground of sorts. I’m not trying to evoke any kind of emotion or discussion from Polite Winter. I just hope the viewers enjoy the abstract, fragmented narrative that is woven around the images.
What is the most difficult aspect in combining abstract with realism? Do you wish to find a balance between the two?
Kenichi: I try not to think about that too much. If I want to do an abstract painting, I will do a strictly abstract painting. Same goes for my “representational” pieces. To me there’s no difference between abstraction and realism. In this sense, I’m a firm believer in Gerhard Richter’s philosophy and writings.
Now that you have been in NY for several years, has the environment influenced your work at all as opposed to not, years ago?
Kenichi: Since I grew up in New Jersey, I spent most of my life in the NY/NJ area. So I can’t say that the environment has affected my work in any way.
From a technical aspect, how do you get that depth into the hair of a person?
Kenichi: When drawing or painting hair, it’s important not to get bogged down in the individual strands and minute details. You want to nail down the large, overall shape. Pretend you’re drawing a flowing piece of fabric with a very fine, striped pattern.
Do you have any favorite Asian films or Anime?
Kenichi: Like everyone else, all Miyazaki animations and Akira. They shaped my childhood [laughs]. I also love the “usual” Asian directors: Kurosawa, Ozu, Hirokazu Koreeda, Chan-wook Park, Joon-ho Bong, Ki-duk Kim, Takeshi Kitano, etc. “In the Mood for Love” by Wong Kar Wai is one of my all time favorites.
Your specialities lie in media pieces out of oil, acrylic, and wax on wood. How did you know you excelled at these particular areas?
Kenichi: While I was at school, I experimented with a lot of different mediums and working methods. I like to say that I spent more time at the hardware store than at the art supply store. I don’t know if I specialize in a certain medium(s). I go through phases where a particular material fascinates me. I’m waiting for the glitter and macaroni phase.
Wax on wood is very interesting considering it’s one of the oldest archival mediums in existence. What is the hardest aspect of creating with this medium?
Kenichi: Wax is a very unforgiving medium. It is very difficult to control and I relied on a lot of trial and error when I first started using it. For me, regulating the “opacity” of the wax is the hardest aspect. It takes a lot of patience and choice timing.
Lastly, any advice for youn artists trying to make a name for themselves in a big city?
Kenichi: Always carry a camera. But don’t just dangle it around your neck as an accessory.
Want to keep tabs on Kenichi’s work and some other sites of interest? Check out the link’s below: