Yoshimura Mural Returns to DTLA | arts and culture


As a muralist, Kent Yoshimura’s art allows him to make sense of an otherwise empty space. His most recent work, entitled “Chiaroscuro”, will occupy one of the most furious environments in the city: the 10 Freeway.

“One of the things we all hate in LA is the traffic,” Yoshimura said with a laugh. “Let’s hope that (this mural) transforms this space, it transforms this journey, it transforms the experience for the people who can observe it.”

“Chiaroscuro,” which will be completed on the side of the I-10 Santa Monica Freeway off Figueroa Street by Friday, Nov. 25 and will remain through January, was originally created as part of a a new show titled “Awakening” at the Wynn Las Vegas, where Yoshimura was honored as LA’s Representative Artist.

The immersive show, which premiered Nov. 7, was directed by actor Bernie Yuman, who served as executive producer of “On Your Feet!” Broadway musical, creative director Michael Curry, often known for his work on The Lion King on Broadway, and producer Baz Halpin, who has previously worked with stars like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.

To incorporate the voices of artists from across the country into “Awakening,” the Wynn Las Vegas invited Yoshimura and fellow artists Allison Hueman and Clyde Thompson to create three murals.

“The Wynn in Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world,” Yoshimura said. “I think there’s the superficial elements of entertainment, and then there’s the deeper components. … What the Wynns did in casting us as artists, I think what they were able to do is trying to capture that deeper soul in this show.

The pieces, commissioned by visual art producers Building 180, will accompany an animated short from award-winning studio Art Camp and two decks of art cards from illustrator and comic book designer Jen Bartel.

“(My) piece is called ‘Chiaroscuro’, which in painting or film is the interplay between dark and light and how being able to play with shadows and reflections helps tell a story”, explained Yoshimura. “I think if we look at this as a feat of engineering, as a feat of performance art that dives into a new realm of theatre… the interplay between light and shadow is something that, metaphorically, can exist in all our lives.

“A lot of my pieces play with this theme of duality and find a balance in duality. The piece itself portrays that.

Yoshimura’s mural is filled with contrasting visual elements, such as fire and water, earth and air, sun and moon, all against the backdrop of a rising Phoenix.

“I knew there was this duality that I wanted to bring into the piece,” Yoshimura began. “But as I started working on it, it was like the characters, the hands, the way the Phoenix was laid out in the back, all the different elements and how they contrasted with each other…it’ went from being a really dark room to i like a lot more, if you look at the colors it’s bright, despite everything i think that was a big part of that, like finding that kind of hope in the ‘darkness.

With his new creation off Highway 10 and his recent project for a double mural in Little Tokyo honoring Ellison Onizuka, Yoshimura has expressed that there is also liberating power in being able to share his voice with the world. that surrounds it, especially in such a visual format. .

“The reason I love art is that it’s representation. … For me, art is infinite. And every year, every drawing, every mural that I do, I feel like I’m improving in some way,” he described. “It’s an almost transformative experience. … It’s the most honest representation of self in a highly visible format.

“That’s exactly why I don’t like (working in) the world of galleries. I don’t like to paint for a small group of people.

“When I see my piece, and the same goes for all of my murals, like going to Little Tokyo and the two murals… they’re just such powerful beacons now. It’s almost like for me, once I’m done with the mural, it’s like a passage to the city. This is a public discount. »


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