Welcome to My Studio

Nov 16, 2018

Ever wanted to visit an artist's studio? Most artists welcome it, especially painter Hamilton Kobayashi. It's probably because, for decades, he owned and ran a framing shop in Kaimuki that was a well known artist hangout. He welcomes viewers to his studio to sidestep the 100% mark up galleries require to stay in business.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

The simple sign for Kobayashi’s Art Enterprise was a familiar sight on 12th Avenue in Kaimukī for decades.  The small second floor frame shop was a hangout for one of Hawai‘i’s most important artists, Satoru Abe, who encouraged the owner, Hamilton Kobayashi to paint.  Now they’re both featured in a show at Saks 5th  Avenue in Waikīkī.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports.

The installation of Hamilton Kobayashi's work at Sak's 5th Avenue in their "Art on the Avenue" program. He is showing with Harry Tsuchidana and Satoru Abe in an exhibition titled, "Three Geminis," through the end of November 2018.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

Hamilton Kobayashi, proprietor of Kobayashi’s Art Enterprise, a professional framer, says he owes everything to artist Satoru Abe.

New from Satoru Abe, his designs made into men's ready to wear fashion.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

Kobayashi:  I owe everything to Mr. Abe.  Because of him, I started to paint again.  He inspires artists. Certain people, they project a feeling of kindness, humbleness, and inspiration.  He does that.

Kobayashi:  He’ll tell you, Noe, just keep painting, just do what you want to do.  No matter what, just be creative.  If you like your artwork, that’s all that matters.

That’s really all people need to hear.

Kobayashi:  I’m still in the learning process.  There’s no finality.  You’re learning as you go along. I’m learning new things so the style is changing too.

Kobayashi's paintings are representational land and seascapes, largely the volcanic landscapes of Hawai‘i Island and the Ka Iwi coast of O‘ahu.

Kobayashi:  When I paint oceans, my son them, they like to go fishing, so in my mind I’m thinking, that painting, if a fisherman saw this scene, would it make him feel like, Oh! I want to go there and fish off that rock! 

Kobayashi:  And this shallow water one.  This tako fisherman said, Oh Ham, I like it because that’s the way I look for tako, the shallowness, and I look for holes.  When they tell me that, I feel good because, did I capture that feeling?

Paintings by Harry Tsuchidana are also on view in the show, "Three Geminis," at Saks 5th Avenue Waikiki through December 1, 2018.
Credit Noe Tanigawa

Brushstrokes dance across the canvasses, that look like they're becoming more abstract.

Kobayashi:  As much as possible, I don’t want it to go to galleries.  Because the markup is so high.  I want people to afford it.  I like people to come here, see something they like.

Artists love and need galleries—but they take a 50% cut.  Galleries need the money to stay in business and promote their products, but yes, that's a 100% mark up.  Like many artists, Kobayashi invites people to his studio, just give him a call at 808-735-1802.  I called out of the blue and he was so welcoming!! 

Credit Noe Tanigawa

Or you may see Kobayashi's work now, with Satoru Abe and Harry Tsuchidana ---"Three Geminis" is the name of the show, at Saks 5th Avenue Waikīkī through the end of November 2018. 

I'm going to try Kobayashi's technique for stetching canvas.  Hear it at the end of the extended interview above.