Finding Freedom In Failure With Japanese Artist Yusuke Hanai

Source Credit:  Content and images from Nonsuch Foundation by Nonsuch Foundation.  Read the original article -

The instantly recognizable paintings of Yusuke Hanai are populated by a host of colorful, if somewhat deflated, personalities and bold retro curves. His simplified caricatures somehow manage to hit the nail on the head in terms of what defines the human experience. Rather than focusing on the glossy and glamorous, Hanai taps his fascination for those who struggle and fail – as of course we all do. Throughout his work is a lacing of kindness, humor, and honesty that makes the most bleak of facial expressions seem deeply comforting. His creations cross social barriers, boasting exhibits in as far flung places as Australia, Brazil, California, London, New York, Paris, and Tokyo. With his own story tracking all the way from Japan, to the United States, and back again, Hanai expresses amusement: “In Japan, people think my art looks American. In the US, people think my work looks very Japanese.”

The Magnetism Of Art And Surfing

Born in 1978, Yusuke Hanai had a natural flair for art which blossomed after his discovery of Rick Griffin’s Grateful Dead album artwork at the age of 17. He would go on to draw from inspirations ranging from surfer culture to American cartoons, and Tim Burton movies to the writing of Jack Kerouac. However, at this early stage, his parents encouraged him away from an arts education under the belief that it would not help him get work. Unsure what to do with his life, Hanai floated from high school into employment at a surfer café, and took to the waves in Kamakura. The café’s owner launched a new bar/restaurant called The Road And The Sky, and Hanai found himself collaborating with surfing and skateboarding enthusiasts to bring the business to life. Hanai took charge of artwork, creating the logo, print products, and signage, and learning how to develop imagery on a computer after a lesson from a neighbor.

After five years, Hanai had saved enough money to put himself through art school. A backpacking trip to the United States and Mexico inspired his decision to head for San Francisco, where he enrolled at the Academy Of Art College. Drawn to the beatnik and hippy cultures within the city, alongside the bounty of complex characters living within the foggy urban landscape, Hanai set about soaking up the San Francisco experience. Despite mastering a range of applied techniques and building a new perspective on the world, Hanai didn’t graduate. Instead, he slid into web design and illustration work, launching off from his touch-point connections within the surfing world.

In 2006, when exhibiting at the Green Room Festival in Yokohama, Japan, Hanai forged a new bond that would alter his trajectory. Wil Pennartz, owner of The Surf Gallery in Laguna Beach, was entranced by Hanai’s distinctive style, and invited him to participate in The Happening, a 2007 New York event. This was to mark the beginning of Hanai’s acceleration into the international art-world consciousness.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Nonsuch Foundation by Nonsuch Foundation.  Read the original article -