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Tim Okamura

Tim Okamura is a contemporary Canadian painter, known for his depiction of African-American and minority subjects in urban settings.

He has created a visual language that acknowledges a traditional form of story-telling through portraiture. Okamura infuses the work with resonant contemporary motifs through a unique method of painting – one that combines an essentially ‘realist’ approach to the figure with collage, spray paint and mixed media, a sort of combination of graffiti and realism. Lending classical techniques of oil painting with the spontaneity of spray painted graffiti, combining the academic figure painting with modern graphics and contemporary urban environments.

He has exhibited extensively in galleries throughout the world, including the U.S., Canada, Italy, Japan, Ecuador and Turkey, and has been selected nine times to appear in the prestigious BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. His work has been featured in several major motion pictures and he was also one of several artists to be shortlisted in 2006 for a proposed portrait of Queen Elizabeth of England.


Tim Okamura is a personal friend that Rachel Meijler proudly represents. My fascination of his work stems from my Dutch heritage, I find his work a sort of modern evolution to the classic Dutch masters, the abundance of paint and the soul shouting from each canvas, This moves me to my core, his undeniable technique combined with his connection to modern times and to his subject matter, make his work relevant and in my opinion, one that will stand the test of time.

During a studio visit with Tim Okamura, there was a better understanding of his evolution and process, there is a distinct sense that Tim Okamuras studio is a well-oiled machine, with preparations for solo exhibits, art fairs, charity collaborations, a Tokyo research trip for his next passion project, a series of Samurai portraits, something that has been brewing in his soul for some years now, it is no surprise at all that Okamura rarely accepts commissions now a days. A brief discussion with the artist and one realizes that he is basically booked for the next 3 years, at least.

As part of his evolution, he is developing a whole separate series of mix media works, a variety of objects that all carry a strong sense of a "lived" and discarded urban life, vintage doors, street signs, industrial moldings and such. It looks as if he is 'allowing them to live' in his studio until he is inspired to incorporate them into his process.

Tim Okamura is an independent artist and lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

Here is a Link to a great interview with the artist by VICE.

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