Shinji S. Yamamoto Home Page Strip

About the Artist Page 2 of 2

Dinner with friends, Paris, October 2013

a little background

According to my beloved sister, Miyako Yamamoto, another artist who lives and works in Tokyo; I have been painting since I was 4 years old under a gifted instructor. After a while, I started receiving awards at some chilren's competitions at the national level, so I was allowed to spend as much time as I wanted to paint pictures, which I remember to be all I ever wanted to do then. My life was pretty simple.

This trend in my little life pretty much continued until the university years first at "Osaka Geijutsu Daigaku (Osaka University of Art & Music)" in Japan, and then at "Academy of Art College" in San Francisco, finally at "San Francisco State University," also in San Francisco; however, something went wrong along the way, and I ended up earning a degree in biology (with Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude thrown in along the way).

So I almost followed a wrong path, but realizing that I had no talent in science, I eventually started as a painter in San Francisco around 1982, where "Morrel Morrel" on Union Street carried a few paintings of mine, and so did "Heartman Gallery" on Polk Street. I also made a few friends along the way, and one of them was a very kind nature photographer, Douglas R. Whiteside, who invited me to use his studio in El Portal, right outside of West gate of Yosemite National Park. It was my first experience ever to live close to nature, and it was a wonderful experience: We had a small waterfall in the back with a crystal clear pool large enough to swim in the summer, and our dining room had a grand view of the forest with a much larger waterfall in the distance that never stopped flowing.

 

Surrounded by nature, this was the time when I painted the original flowers for my later attempts now simply titled flowers 1 and flowers 2 under Paintings: The original flowers were first painted with pencils and water based media on paper, leaving the white background of the paper untouched without any particular reason. But since they were unfinished, I just put them in the basement and totally forgot about them for a long time. Then one day about 15 years later, I just thought about them, took them out, and decided to digitize them; so that I could perhaps finish the white background of each painting in the computer.

It turned out that this seemingly simple task was not as easy as I had imagined, because painting from the scratch in the computer environment was quite different, especially since I did not want to touch the flowers and I did not want to use any of those fake brush programs. As a result, I had to come up with totally new ways of painting at the pixel levels, and I have been doing this for about 15 years now. Naturally, I've made dozens of these flower paintings, but none of them feels quite right yet.

These flower paintings are actually not that important, but the lessons that I've learned during the process are, because I now feel that I can paint my own snapshots almost anyway I like, just like I once felt that I could paint almost anything on paper many years ago. It still takes several weeks to finish just one digital image this way, and I can take only 2 or 3 snapshots that I like in any given year. But painting over a snapshot has been a new experience for me, and it has been fun. You can see some these attempts under Paintings.

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- m a i l i n g a d d r e s s e s -
77 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris, France
601 Van Ness Ave, Opera Plaza 143, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
Eml: Shinji@SYamamoto.com