By Angelina Jahn
The work of artist and Grand Rapids Community College adjunct instructor, Tatsuki Hakoyama, is currently being displayed at the college’s Paul Collins Art Gallery.
The self-titled exhibition “Tatsuki Hakoyama” features paintings from multiple past series, including work from his collections “Searching for the Middle Path” and “Human Condition.”
“These paintings depict magical narratives that invoke a sense of uncanniness to seemingly mundane scenery,” Hakoyama wrote in an artist statement for the exhibition. “These compositions analyze, criticize, and question the human struggle — both physical and metaphysical — and provide social commentary on relevant topics relating to identity, education, and impact of globalization and technology in our social structure.”
While Hakoyama has his own opinions on the subjects he’s commentating on, he wants viewers to draw their own conclusions.
“Although I have my own personal thoughts on these topics, the important thing here is critical thinking,” Hakoyama said. “I do not want my work to be propaganda art, which is why I try to have some ambiguity with my compositions and room for imaginative interpretation.”
Though painting is his preferred medium, he enjoys working with other mediums and processes as well.
“I like to work with close-to-lifesize figurative compositions, and I find oil paint to be most practical for working on a larger scale with color,” he said. “In addition to that, there’s so much depth and complexity with oil painting to a point that I’m constantly learning and aiming to improve my skills.”
Working as an adjunct professor at GRCC since January 2021, Hakoyama stated that “the overall experience teaching at GRCC has been great so far. That being said, adjusting to teaching virtual/online/hybrid has been challenging especially since drawing is such a hands-on activity.”
Hakoyama himself discovered his passion for art while in college.
“I’ve always enjoyed doodling, but I began to take it more seriously (and switched my major to art) when I took drawing courses during my undergraduate studies at Central Michigan University,” he said.
The exhibit will continue to be on display from now through Thursday, Nov. 18 on the fourth floor of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall. Admission is free. The Paul Collins Art Gallery is open from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday.