What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?



“Rosie no. 1.” by Tim Okamura

While looking for International Women’s Day artists, I first spotted these gorgeous, powerful paintings, and I thought Yes! This! When I realized they were painted by a gentle giant of a man, and I thought Yes! This! (But not for International Women’s Day…) While he may not the fierce black woman I expected him to be, his heart is certainly in the right place. A portion of the proceeds from each of Okamura’s prints is donated to Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), a Title IX Brooklyn-based youth development organization. 

“[T]he further I went down this path of painting women as my subjects, the deeper the stories got and the more feedback I received. The most important thing I realized were the questions of painting people who have been under-represented in the history of art, the history of portraiture. I soon became part of a small movement of people who were looking to correct that. Sometimes it doesn’t always line up as the viewer imagined. That part of my work I didn’t intend to be conceptual, but it has challenged people’s ideas of who can represent who through art. People can quickly sense if artwork is from a place of authenticity or not – my messages are positive and so are my representations and this is a celebration of my community.

– Tim Okamura

The multi-racial Canadian artist’s work is meant to explore the human relationship to identity. Okamura uses a surprising combination of materials to achieve his gorgeous paintings – applying collage, spray paints, and other mixed media to create his subjects. I think his unusual materials combined with the scale of his paintings make them extra impactful and memorable.

You can see all of Tim Okamura’s magnificent paintings on Instagram, and you can buy his prints on Artsy.

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“Stop the Violence”, 2020, oil, red sewing thread on wood panel, 48 x 60”. 👉 Posting this again after changing up the t-shirt graphic. The story: When fabulous model Tink came to my studio to pose she was originally gonna wear a different message t-shirt but forgot it at home. She happened to be wearing a customized t-shirt which she made from two b&w versions of a band t-shirt sewn together with red thread. I loved the piece, and had her pose in what she was wearing. I have to admit I was unfamiliar with the band, but understood it to be her friends, a local NY-based band. Initially thought it might be cool to paint the shirt as it was but decided to change it up and created the message: “Stop the Violence”. 🎨 Completely within my rights in terms of artistic license (think Andy Warhol, Richard Prince as more bold examples) and also a significant enough change to avoid any issues with potential copyright claims if they did come up. I spoke with my lawyer about this to confirm (& there was no copyright anyway). I did keep the original graphic (3 traditional coffin shapes) which was already altered by the customization of the shirt, but it was enough for the band & their fans to recognize, and ultimately get upset about. I won’t get into more details, but suffice to say I’m not in this game to provoke or to intentionally piss people off. (Unfortunately sometimes it’s gonna happen anyway, despite best of intentions.) I’m here to honor my subjects, point to our shared human connections, and hopefully stimulate conscious thought. 🧠 ⚡️ So, I took the painting back to the studio, and the t-shirt has now been completely changed: “X” My apologies for any anxiety caused. 🙏 Respect to the band and their passionate fans. 👊✨Thank you again to transcendent @tinkcolorful and to everyone for their continued support! Much love! 💛 💛💛#TheMessage #StoptheViolence #OneLove #unityindiversity #representationmatters

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“Finding Paola”, 2019, oil on wood panel, 30 x 40”. 🔸Happy to announce that this painting will be included in the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art 2019 Benefit Auction along with works by Robert Longo, Josephine Halvorson, Jeffrey Gibson, and Cauleen Smith. The event takes place Oct. 29th and will also be a celebration of the creative lives of Paola Prestini, Nick Cave, & Bob Faust. 🌟 Live bidding begins Oct. 29th and can be accessed through link in bio. ☝️ Description: “This portrait is a tribute to the ingenuity, beauty, grace, and style of Tim Okamura’s good friend Paola Mathé. She is a creative director, photographer, designer, entrepreneur, activist and influencer. Her journey has been a revelation and inspiration to a large community for which visual art, fashion, writing, photography, and ideas connected to personal growth figure prominently. Her fashion line Fanm Djanm – which, in Haitian Kreyol means ‘strong woman’  focuses primarily on sophisticated headwear that fuses tradition with a contemporary sensibility. Okamura wanted to depict Paola in her environment so they agreed she would sit for this painting in her home in Austin, Texas – the color scheme and styling are true reflections of her personality. Using oil paint on wood panel, I loved the challenge of capturing the interplay of warm and cool color, and the balance of delicate details and a strong light source. These contrasts help transmit the complexities of subtlety, stoicism and resolve that comprise Paola's narrative.” 🙏💛⚡️ Eternal gratitude to @findingpaola for sitting for me, & to @massmoca for selecting the work for this great event! #findingpaola #MassMoCA #famndjamn

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Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

4 thoughts on “Assumptions

  1. These are all wonderful! I love the way he depicts women as strong and self-possessed and I also really like his creation of visual texture, especially all those scrubby, dribbly bits.

    Liked by 1 person

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