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 Arthur Okamura  (1932 - 2009)

About: Arthur Okamura


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Lived/Active: California/Illinois      Known for: modernist-leaning landscape to non ob and figure painting

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Arthur Okamura
An example of work by Arthur Okamura
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
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Arthur Okamura was born in Long Beach, California, February 24, 1932.  He was interned at the Santa Anita Race Track "Assembly Center" soon after Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan, on December 1, 1941.  After 6 months, he and his family were transferred to Amache Relocation Center in Colorado, where they lived for three years.

After the war ended in 1945, Arthur and his family relocated to Chicago, Illinois. There he attended grammar school, high school and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  It was in Chicago that he got married and started off in his formative years as an artist.  Arthur had always planned to be an artist and began working after school at a silkscreen poster studio when he was fifteen years old.  He worked there for twelve years and became the main layout artist and stencil cutter.

Upon graduating from the Art Insititute in 1945, he received the Edward L. Ryerson Foreign Travel Fellowship and went, with his wife, to Mallorca in the Balearic Islands to paint.  It was in Mallorca that he first met Robert Creeley.  Creeley became a close friend who offered him inspiration and influenced his work.  Back again in Chicago in 1956, Arthur, his wife and his first child packed up their car and moved to San Francisco, at the suggestion of Arthur's Chicago art dealer, Charles Feingarten, who was opening a gallery in San Francisco.  Subsequently, Feingarten opened other galleries in Carmel, Los Angeles and New York.

For years Arthur Okamura painted and exhibited prodigiously. In 1959, now with four children, Arthur moved from San Francisco to Bolinas.  He and his wife at that time divorced and have since remarried.

In 1997 Arthur retired from teaching at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California, where he taught for 31 years.

The Art Institute of Chicago, 1950-54
Yale University Summer Art Seminar, 1954
University of Chicago, 1951, 1953, 1957

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1957
Central YMCA College of Chicago, 1956, 1957
Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL, 1956, 1957
North Shore Art League, Winnetka, IL, 1957
Academy of Art, San Francisco, CA, 1958
California College of Arts & Crafts, Professor of Fine Arts, 1958, 1959, 1966-1997
San Francisco Studio of Art, Director, 1958
Saugatuck Summer Art School, Saugatuck, MI, 1959, 1962
University of Utah, Guest Lecturer, 1964, 1972
Fort Wright College, Spokane, WA, 1976
University of California, Santa Cruz
Humboldt State College, 1977
Watercolor Painting in Tahiti, 1987
Watercolor Painting in Bali (Sponsored by Wilderness Journeys/Art Trek & University of California, Santa Cruz), 1989, 1991
Professor Emeritus: California College of Arts & Crafts, 1997

The Art Institute of Chicago Annuals, 1951-1954
Museum of Modern Art, NY, 1954
Downtown Gallery, NY
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art
University of Washington, Seattle, 1955
Ravinia Art Festival, Highland Park, IL
American Exhibition, Art Institute of Chicago
Contemporary Americans, LA County Museum
Art In Asia and the West, San Francisco Museum
Contemporary American Painting, Art Institute of Chicago
Society of Contemporary Art, Art Institute of Chicago
West Coast Painters, American Federation of Art
San Francisco Annual, San Francisco Museum
Contemporary Americans, University of Nebraska
Recent Acquisitions, Denver Museum
Drawings of California Artists, Sponsored by U.S. Information Center, Berlin, Cologne, Germany, 1958-1959
New Talent, American Federation of Art, 1959
Dallas Museum of Art
Fresh Paint, De Young Museum, San Francisco, 1958
Knoedler Gallery, NY, 1959
Winter Invitational, California Palace of the Legion of Honor 1959
Whitney Museum, NY, 1960
Sculpture and Drawing, San Francisco Museum of Art, 1961
Great by Greats, Time Life Building, NY, 1961
Whitney Annual, 1962,1963,1964
Forty Artists Under Forty, Whitney Museum, 1962
Bay Area Artists, San Francisco Museum, 1962
Recent Collections by Friends of the Whitney, Whitney Museum 1964
Ravinia Art Festival, Lake Forest, IL 1964 Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C. 1964 Pacific Heritage, LA County Museum 1965 SECA Exhibit, San Francisco Museum of Art, 1966
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA, 1966
Painters Behind Painters, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1967
Pittsburgh International Carnegie Institute, 1967
Takashima 1970 Exposition, Osaka/Tokyo, Japan, 1970
Bay Area Art Faculties, College of Marin, 1970
Asian Artists, Oakland Museum, 1971
Imaginary Painting from S.F. California State, University of San Jose, 1972
"A Sense of Place" Exhibit, Joslyn Nebraska Art Museum, 1973
Four from CCAC, Berkeley Art Center, 1974
Falkirk Connnunity Cultural Center, San Rafael, CA, 1975
Two-Person Show with Joan Rosenbaum, Walnut Creek Art Center, 1975
"Zen Gardens", San Jose State University, 1976
Tropical Visions, St. Mary's College, 1989
Tropic Exotic, TransAmerica Pyramid, SF, 1986
"On The Trail," Claudia Chaplin Gallery, Stinson Beach, CA, 1987
"Opening Show," Bolinas Museum, 1988
"Miniature Show," Bolinas Museum, 1990
"In The Garden," Bolinas Museum, 1991
"60 Plus: Older Artists of West Marin," Bolinas Museum, 1993
Gallery Route One, Pt. Reyes Station, CA, 1993
"Sea Fever," Transamerica Pyramid, 1993
"Cats," Bolinas Museum, 1993
"With New Eyes," San Francisco State University, 1995
"As Seen At The Beach," Bolinas Museum, 1997
"Miniature Show," Bolinas Museum, 1997

Solo Exhibitions:
Frank Ryan Gallery, Chicago, IL, 1953
La Boutique, Chicago, IL, 1953,1954
Feingarten Galleries, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, LA, 1956-1976
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1958
California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1961
Calhoun Gallery, Dallas, TX, 1962
University of Utah, 1964
M. Knoedler & Company, NY, 1965
Hanson Gallery, San Francisco, 1964-1968
College of Holy Names, Oakland, 1966
Drawings, San Francisco Museum of Art, 1968
Hanson Fuller Gallery, San Francisco, 1971
Govett Brewster Gallery, New Zealand, 1971
University of Southern Idaho, 1972
California College of Arts & Crafts, Oakland, 1972
Kent State University, Kent, OH, 1973
Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1973
Conunonweal, Bolinas, CA, 1980
Stinson Beach Art Center, 1983
Ruth Braunstein Gallery, SF, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1994
Retrospective: "Selections From a Lifetime of Art," 1995. Concurrently at the Bolinas Museum and at the Claudia Chaplin Gallery, Stinson Beach, CA
"Early Paintings," Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 1996
"Recent Bolinas Landscapes," Commonwealth - 20th Anniversary Celebration, Bolinas, CA, September 1996

Religious Arts, University of Chicago, 1st Prize 1953
Contemporary American Paintings, Art Institute of Chicago, Martin Cahn Award, 1957
University of Illinois, Purchase Award 1957
79th Annual, San Francisco Museum, Schwabacher-Frey Award 1960
Whitney Museum of Art, Neysa McMein Purchase Award 1960
National Society of Arts & Letters, New York, $1,500 Purchase Award
San Francisco Art Commission, Purchase Prize 1976

Public Collections:
Rockefeller Chapel, University of Chicago
Santa Barbara Museum
Art Institute of Chicago
Whitney Museum of Art
San Francisco Museum of Art
University of Illinois
Borg Warner Collection, Chicago, IL
Phoenix Art Museum
Illinois State Normal
Container Corporation of America
National Society of Arts and Letters
Johnson Wax Collection
Joseph Hirschhorn Collection
U.S. Steel Service Institute
Corcoran Museum
Whitney Museum
Miles Laboratory
Auchenbach Foundation
California Palace of the Legion of Honor
California College of Arts & Crafts
Kalamazoo College
National Collection of Fine Arts
Smithsonian Institution
Illinois Bell Telephone
Stanford University Collection
University of Southern Idaho
Cincinnati Art Museum
Oakland Art Museum
United Gas & Pipeline Company, Dallas, TX
Alta Bates Hospital

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0, Co-Author, Robert Creeley. Publisher Shambala/Mudra
Basho - Co-Author, Robert Bly. Publisher, Mudra
Ox Herding, Co-Author, Joel Weishaus. Publisher, Cranium Press
Passionate Journey, Co-Author, Steve Kowit. Publisher, City Miner Books
10 Poems by Issa, Co-Author, Robert Bly. Publisher, Floating Island Publications
Magic Rabbit. Publisher, Jungle Garden Press
Exhibited in Handmade Book Section at opening of new San Francisco Library, 1996
In the collection of:
Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, 1996
Marriot Library Special Collections, University of Utah, 1996

The Art of Pastel, Sharyle Patton, Director, 1977
The Art of Oil Painting, Sharyle Patton, Director, 1980. Made in Collaboration with Marin Community Video Screen Printing, Magda Cregg Productions, 1978

Pastel Drawings for television movie "The People," John Korty, Director, 1971

Reference Listings:
Who's Who in America
Who's Who in the West
Who's Who in American Art
Who's Who Among Asian Americans

Set Design:
Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, Bandshell, Golden Gate Park, 1997

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