Last Saturday a few friends and I went out gallery hopping. What I forgot was that gallery summer hours are pretty skimpy so we had to look hard to find some interesting shows... or so we thought. Our first stop we ran into Issei Hidaka and his work at Onishi Gallery on W 26th Street in Chelsea. Issei is a high school art teacher in Japan and so for his summer vacation he decided to visit NYC and spend some time at his first solo show in the city. He was very kind, reserved, and polite... and he was happy to talk to me, via a translator, about his art.
According to the galleries press release...
Issei Hidaka was born in Japan in 1959. He studied art and design at Musashino Art College and Kuwasawa Design Laboratory, Tokyo. [...] Hidaka uses colored pencils to create precise lines and saturated colors that portray his own unique vision of nature in daily life. [...] We see the clean lines and smooth coloration of Ukiyo-e combined with the intricacy and vividness of mandala and kaleidoscope images.
These 12" x 12" drawings illuminate Onishi Gallery. They are beautifully composed and like honey to your eyes. I asked Hidaka why he chose to exhibit two distinct types of work: Ukiyo-e inspired drawings and mandalas. If I understood him correctly he told me the mandalas are his normal kind of work while the Ukiyo-e are deliberately created in order to express his cultural roots to an American or otherwise foreign audience.