Tim Okamura/ Tim Okamura

Canada 1968

Urban Art

timokamura.com

Tim Okamura
Tim Okamura
Male
Canada
1968

Tim Okamura is a Canadian-born contemporary artist, best known for his works set in an urban backdrop, created in a combined style of realism, symbolism and graffiti. His portraits investigate identity, urban environment, and modern cultural iconography. His characteristic method of painting merges an essentially academic approach to the figure with collage, spray paint and mixed media. Gradually, Tim Okamura’s masterpieces have gained great notoriety and approval by many. In 2006, Okamura was among several artists short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures as candidates commissioned to paint Queen Elizabeth’s portrait.

Tim Okamura - Portrait of Doug (Dr. Israel), 1995, visual arts blog
Tim Okamura – Portrait of Doug (Dr. Israel), 1995

Bronx Brooklyn Queens

Born and raised in Edmonton, Canada, Tim received a B.F.A. with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991. After graduating with an M.F.A. in 1993, the artist moved to Brooklyn, New York. Tim Okamura is currently based in Bushwick – a rapidly gentrifying middle-class neighborhood in the northern part of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Half Japanese, half British, Tim Okamura is a true multiracial artist. Recently, his favorite subjects were the African-American women of New York City. He confirms that people are surprised that someone whose last name is Okamura produces such portraits of empowered African-American women. He states that a natural evolution led him to create Bronx Brooklyn Queens series, and it began with his interest in American urban experiences and involvement in hip hop, and also in other aspects of the culture – graffiti.

His choice of subjects also raises a social issue that is important to him, such as the lack of African-Americans represented by New York galleries. His gestured and unconventional paintings empower his female subjects while bringing them up close and personal emotionally. Strong, confident and independent, they are also soulful, self-aware, and elegant.

The artist paints portraits of empowered African-American women

Bronx Brooklyn Queens series, visual arts blog
Left: Tim Okamura – Bloodlines, 2011 / Right: Tim Okamura – Ennobled Apparition, 2014, from Bronx Brooklyn Queens series

After Matisse/Picasso at the Museum of Modern Art

Tim Okamura’s artworks have been exhibited is renowned art institutions and galleries throughout the United States, Canada and the UK, such as the National Portrait Gallery in London, England. He was included in the exhibition After Matisse/Picasso at the Museum of Modern Art – MoMA P.S.1 in Queens, New York. In addition, Okamura’s work was selected seven times to appear in the BP Portrait Awards Exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery. In 2013, the University of North Carolina hosted a retrospective exhibition of Okamura’s work that focused on nearly a decade of production.

Tim Okamura - The Royal Guard (Bronx), 2011, from Bronx Brooklyn Queens series
Tim Okamura – The Royal Guard (Bronx), 2011, from Bronx Brooklyn Queens series

Okamura’s Celebrity Collections

Tim Okamura’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Toronto Congress Center, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Davis Museum in Massachusetts, as well as the private collections of celebrities such as John Mellencamp, Uma Thurman, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Ben Younger, Bryan Greenberg, Vanessa Marcil, and Ethan Hawke, among others.

visual arts blog
Left: Tim Okamura – The Bond No 2, 2014 / Right: Tim Okamura – And Here an Angel Came to Pass, 2015

His paintings have been featured in several movies, such as Jersey Girl (2004), School of Rock (2003) and Pieces of April (2003). Tim’s work was also a part of a romantic comedy Prime from 2005, a film starring Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman and Bryan Greenberg in the role of David, a talented painter living in New York City.

Tim Okamura lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Begin Transmission, with Chris MarshallBeelectric Studio, Brooklyn, NYDuo
2015Power, Protest, & Resistance: The Art of RevolutionRush Arts Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2015Trophy ArtAzart Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2015Spring PreviewDouglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, CanadaGroup
2015Light of the AncestorsPepco Edison Place Gallery, Washington, D.C.Group
2015The Artists Gaze: Seeing Women in the 21st CenturySirona Fine Art, Hallandale Beach, FLGroup
2015CONTEXT Art FairWhite Room, Liquid Art System, New York, NYGroup
2014Love Strength and SoulYeelen Gallery, Miami, FLSolo
2014Her StoryDouglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver, CanadaSolo
2014Survey 2009-2014National Arts Club, New York, NYSolo
2014Recent Work, with Jerome LagarrigueWhite Room, Liquid Art System, Capri, ItalyDuo
2014Scope Art FairMiami Beach 2014, Castle Fitzjohns Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2014Contemporary Istanbul Art FairLiquid Art System, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2014CONTEXT Art FairMiami Beach 2014, White Room, Liquid Art System, Miami, FLGroup
2014IdentitySnap! Orlando, Orlando, FLGroup
2014Behind NarrativeOne Art Space, New York, NYGroup
2014For the Time BeingKoki Arts, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2014FixationZhou B Art Center, Chicago, ILGroup
2014MIA in MIALyons Wier Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2013This Story Has Not Yet Been Told…The Robert and Sallie Brown Gallery and Museum, The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NCSolo
2013Round ZeroThe Art Director’s Club, New York, NYGroup
2013Body PoliticThe National Arts Club, New York, NYGroup
2013From Motion to StillnessZhou B Art Center, Chicago, ILGroup
2012Bronx, Brooklyn, QueensDouglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, CanadaSolo
2012Scope Miami 2012Evan Lurie Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2012Toronto International Art FairLyons Wier Gallery, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2012The Box That RocksMuseum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2011Bronx, Brooklyn, QueensLyons Wier Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2011VOLTA NYLyons Wier Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2011Pulse International Art FairLyons Wier Gallery, Miami, FlGroup
2011BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionNational Portrait Gallery, London, UKGroup
2011Here and NowLyons Wier Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2010Pulse International Art FairLyons Wier Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2010BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionNational Portrait Gallery, London, UKGroup
2010The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant SpeaksMuseum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2009Brooklyn Walls: hopechangedreamsDouglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver, CanadaSolo
2009Love, Strength, & Soul, with TheKidBeloShow & Tell Gallery, Toronto, CanadaDuo
2009BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionNational Portrait Gallery, London, UKGroup
2008Women in White - Bushwick WallsDouglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, CanadaSolo
2008BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionNational Portrait Gallery, London, UKGroup
2007Brooklyn Mythology: The First Nations Cycle, with TheKidBeloAxis Contemporary Art, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaDuo
2007Toronto International Art FairToronto, CanadaGroup
2007Fall PreviewDouglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, CanadaGroup
2006Urban Portraits + Brooklyn MythologyAxis Art, Calgary, CanadaSolo
2006BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionNational Portrait Gallery, London, UKGroup
2005Urban Portraits + Brooklyn MythologyDelgado-Tomei Gallery, Brooklyn, NY Solo
2005BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionScottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, ScotlandGroup
2005Figuratively Speaking: Seven PaintersDelgado-Tomei Gallery, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2005BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionNational Portrait Gallery, London, UKGroup
2004BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionAberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen, ScotlandGroup
2004Commissioned - Non-CommissionedChung-Cheng Gallery, St. John’s University, Queens, New YorkGroup
2004BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionNational Portrait Gallery, London, UKGroup
2003New Urban Portraits + Bricks, Locks, & ObstaclesKanvas Gallery, NY, NYSolo
2003After Matisse – PicassoP.S.1, MoMA, Queens, NYGroup
2002Recent WorkNorthsix Gallery, Brooklyn, NYSolo
2002The Sound of ArtThe Puck Building, New York, NYGroup
2002Fresh 2002Artspace Gallery, Calgary, CanadaGroup
2002BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionNational Portrait Gallery, London, UKGroup
2001Urban PortraitsThe Cutting Room, New York, NYSolo
2001Face Value: Portraits for the New CenturyThe Chrysler Building, New York, NYGroup
2001BP Portrait Awards ExhibitionNational Portrait Gallery, London, UKGroup
1999Volte Face: Portraits450 Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1999Portrait and Figurative ExhibitionWilliamsburg Art & Historical Center, Brooklyn, NYGroup
199610th Anniversary ExhibitionJames McMullan Gallery, Edmonton, CanadaGroup
1992EndangeredArt Directors’ Club, New York, NYGroup
1991After HoursWilliam Mackenzie Center Gallery, Edmonton, CanadaGroup