MILT KOBAYASH Castle Howard Yorkshire (Brideshead
“I was painting,,,late one night. blurry
eyed and groggy. i laid in the beginnings of a painting and
liked what i did. basically, for a long long time i've been
trying to add some of nicolai fechin's color modulations into
my sweeping style. since i work alla prima, this was difficult
to do. what i came up with in my half groggy state was movement
from cools, warms, and greys working together.
This is different from my previous works wherein these three
elements were uniformly committed to specific areas of a figure.
example, where once my foreheads were greyed or cooled on the
sides and warmer at the center, i now place them in DIFFERENT
areas of the forehead. in order to do this and control my paint
without getting sloppy all over the place, my process has also
changed, thereby resulting in significantly cleaner and more
The sacrifice is that in some paintings i've foresaken a few
"kobayashi-isms". the painting "andrea"
is an example of how i'm attacking a head. always, this is when
the head is significantly larger for me to work into. however
in general the result is also that i'm looking at my ideas from
Milt Kobayashi (Oct 2012)
MILT KOBAYASH & SHEANA New York
Milt Kobayashi in an Original Frame
Bohemia Galleries is preparing for its third major exhibition
of international best selling artist Milt Kobayashi, the owners
Steve & Sheana Eccles have taken this opportunity to speak
with Milt and get his own insight into his work and developments
over the last couple of years.
A third generation Japanese-American, Kobayashi was born in
New York City, soon after that his family moved to Oahu, Hawaii,
and then ventured to Los Angeles when he was eight. After receiving
his B.A. in 1970 from the University of California - Los Angeles,
Kobayashi began working as an illustrator. After returning to
New York City, a casual visit to the Metropolitan Museum of
Art permanently altered Kobayashi's artistic direction and prompted
a career change. There he saw Velazquez's portrait Juan de Paraja.
In Milt Kobayashi’s intimate, urban paintings, time stands
still. Yet, the expressive narrative flows and ebbs with a rhythmic
cadence of colour and the brevity of the artist’s brushstrokes.
He distils the essence of a casual moment or a late-night mood
to the point that the imagery itself engages the audience in
an intriguing dialogue. With merely a hint of detail and the
simplicity of a single brushstroke, Kobayashi has perfected
his fine art of subtlety.
The dramas of life's simple events are the perfect settings
for Milt to express his brushwork. His brush is meant to be
seen closely. The turn of his stroke here or there breaths life
into these subtle moments, inviting, and drawing you in. Thus
far he has presented his themes on smaller canvases, but he
is starting to turn to larger works as he contemplates more
involved spatial relationships.
While Japanese art has always been his focus, it was always
infused with his western aesthetics, artists who he immersed
himself in. Tonal realists like Sergeant, Chase, Sorolla, and
Velasquez. But his Asian roots always brings him back to spatial
compositions, and he is once again involved in those aesthetics
of vignette narratives, now with Thomas Dewing and Klimt or
Schiele, but with stronger colour accents, sometimes harmonic
sometimes discordant, and always trying to surprise. But even
here, the surprises are subtle and small, so again he asks you
to look very closely because it is there waiting to be found."
Kobayashi himself a creature of the city at night, is drawn
to the same foreboding, nocturnal scenes that magnetized Toulouse-Lautrec.
Known for his urban cafe and bar scenes which dominated his
work in the 90's, he has moved to the non-smoking section and
is gravitating toward quieter settings -- an afternoon tearoom,
a milliner's shop, the tranquillity of a private home. Still
a tonalist, he admits to a growing freedom in his use of colour.
The intricacies in fabrics and accessories fade as patches of
stronger colour emerge. Backgrounds of red or green and the
artist's extensive use of black intensify his compositional
use of negative space and serve to focus attention on atmosphere.
While he is less and less a painter of details, it is the hint
of detail that most intrigues us, and Milt Kobayashi has perfected
the fine art of subtlety.
Milt finds that the best way for him to experiment with new
work, new techniques and new approaches to colour is through
the workshops he teaches. “It’s my opportunity to
experiment” says Kobyashi, “I take that back to
my easel in New York City because I will do things in a seminar
that I will not think about doing while working in my studio.
Demonstrations give me a chance to break out and how I break
out is through colour. Ideas also flow in an interesting way
because everything has to happen quickly and I have to think
on the spot and what emerges sometimes surprises even me. I
learned everything I know today from my own observations. I
am very pragmatic, I feel you ingest everything you need to
know and no one can teach you better than you to yourself.
British art correspondent, Godfrey Barker wrote of Kobayashi,
"Milt Kobayashi's compositions are wicked in their education,
wicked in their skilful calculation and wickedly clever in their
balance, their tonal contrasts and their negative space. In
short, we're looking at an unusually professional and well-sourced
artist, cultivated in a manner uncommon in the desert of Disney
that is modern America. He's apart from his age and we need
to see more of him!" (London Evening Standard.)
Kobayashi has received two major awards: the National Academy
of Design's Ranger Purchased Award and the Allied Arts Silver
Medal. His work has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, and Reader's
Digest magazines. His work was featured at the Artist of America
show in Denver, CO for several years and he has had many sold
out shows throughout the United States and England.
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Contact Sheana Eccles tel. 01482 881 882 m.07880747454 for
details or email firstname.lastname@example.org.