This Thursday, Yoskay Yamamoto will debut eighteen new paintings and sculptures at Hellion gallery in Portland, “Rainy Day with a Chance of Sun.” For this show, Yamamoto chose to explore the balance between joy and melancholy. His paintings vary in style, inspired by artists like Paul Klee, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, and Robert Indiana, to name a few. Images of their art are scattered around his Los Angeles studio where we paid him a visit.
At the time, Yamamoto was planning his new installation “Bric-a-brac”, a purely instantaneous task. Yamamoto is a passionate collector of vintage plastic toys, some no taller than an inch. He shared, “There is something magical and special about looking through and discovering something you like. Also, I like items with a sense of time or history; I find them more beautiful than brand new toys on the shelf, neatly organized. Something about decay or weathered feel that I gravitate towards and attracted to, and I like domestic items, houses, furniture, cars, and something that reminds of comfort.” His way of combining painting with these items inspires fantasy, a happy feeling. It’s more emotionally specific than his “House of Day Dreamers” installation (covered here), which captured his everyday feelings.
He balances this with melancholy illustrations of characters half-submerged in water. They are neither above the surface nor underneath it, representing Yamamoto’s place between two identities- American and Japanese. “I always felt like I was an outsider since I was little. Fitting into the norm or group was quite difficult thing to accomplish for me. Even if I’m surrounded with people, the feeling of loneliness never really went away. Plus, being in the state at the age of fifteen and spending more than half of my life here, in the States, made me feel somewhat detached from my home and my country of origin, Japan. At the same time, I feel that I don’t fit completely as an American,” Yamamoto adds. It’s a personal journey that continues to inspire him, and “Rainy Day with a Chance of Sun” invites us on that journey.
“Rainy Day with a Chance of Sun” by Yoskay Yamamoto opens October 2nd, 2014 at Hellion gallery.