Friday - July 25, 2008
Alan Konishi - Painting
Alan Konishi likes to browse through profiles on MySpace not because he’s bored, avoiding work or stalking anyone, but for research.
“It’s the pursuit of knowledge,“Konishi says when asked what inspires him.“In retrospect, my work has always been about identity - like what circumstances make up an individual’s identity,whether it’s environmental, social, political.”
Konishi notes the Internet and networking sites as his major interest because of how people choose to use them. “These social sites like Facebook and MySpace give people the opportunity to cater to and create their own identity based on what they put on there.”
Currently on display at the Contemporary Museum’s Contemporary Cafe in Makiki Heights are pieces from two different collections by Konishi that emphasize his interests.
“The first series (called Ourspace), I just acquired images from MySpace - I used it as a research tool for personal history,“says Konishi, further describing the look of his paintings as remakes of photos but with the subject or focal point missing.“It’s a silhouette of nothingness - all you see is the wood panel and the painting behind it.”
The second part of his work he describes as more arbitrary,taking images from photo blogs and other photo-sharing networks to get another type of feel.
When asked if he thought he was stealing people’s property or work, Konishi says no.“I feel like the Internet is public domain,” he says, pointing out that how people view the Internet and these networking sites is what his art is all about. “Can you learn too much about someone from the Internet? Because of that, I choose specific images to raise questions about that public realm.”
Though he poses this question, Konishi is careful about revealing his opinion on the subject. “I try not to reveal my position. I try to leave it up to the viewer,” he says.“I also think I use the art to try to articulate (that question) and figure it out myself.”
Konishi has a degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and specializes in printmaking, but chooses to relay his message through paint because it’s easier on his wallet.“Painting is always something I’ve fallen back on,“he says.“For other mediums, there’s just so much material and equipment involved that you need a space, to which most people don’t have access.
“Painting’s just really convenient, ‘cause you can do it in your living room - I do it in my extra bedroom.”
Konishi’s art will be on display at the museum until Sept. 28, and he also will have an exhibition at Nuuanu Gallery called Dirty Laundry in September.
Konishi works as a studio technician and manager at the Academy Art Center at Linekona.
For more information on the museum, call 526-1322.
A new addition to the art scene in Chinatown will open with a bang at the end of July. The Pygoya Gallery will be the first gallery to open featuring digital art, also known as “Webism.”
The gallery can be found by entering the Art Board on Nuuanu Avenue across the street from Marks Garage. It will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. July 31 and also for First Friday.
“I have to put out a warning here:‘Enter at your own risk,’” says gallery owner Dr. Rodney Chang, “because they will see a gallery dedicated to digital art.” He also mentions his art could be alarming to traditionalists in the art community.
Chang, formerly known as the Disco Doc, hopes to bring back the nostalgia of his old disco-themed dentist’s office - now a more traditional one - by modeling the gallery after it.
“Given that (the gallery) will be down in Chinatown, rather than in a dentist’s office in Kalihi, I think it will be a little more appropriate,” says Chang of the gallery’s decor. “I’m looking forward to becoming a participant and expanding people’s interest in art in Chinatown.”
For the first few nights, Chang will show his personal collection of digital art, which is also featured on his website. The pictures look similar to paintings, says Chang, but upon closer inspection are made up of thousands and thousands of tiny pixels.
Chang claims to have founded the art type - which is practiced all over the world - in 2003.
“It now has about 100 people who follow my manifesto,” he explains, adding that the artists make art to show online, rather than only to sell or hang on a gallery wall.
“Eventually I want to bring other artists to Hawaii,” he says. “I want to show the (local) people the different flavors and styles of all the different artists from around the world. Like, my stuff has palm trees and tropical stuff in it. A guy from Russia is going to have something completely different.”
For more information on the gallery, call 845-6216. To view some of Chang’s pieces online, go to www.lastplace.com/page28.htm. The address is 1170 Nuuanu Ave., No 104.
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