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Inside the Artist’s Studio

We took a look inside Harry Tsuchidana’s studio to find out what goes into a lifetime of painting.


Photo: Mark Arbeit

“I always wanted to have a room full of work,” says Harry Tsuchidana.  His fantasy came true years ago: Today, paintings and drawings are rolled and piled high, filling his studio, revealing that Tsuchidana has been obsessively creating art since childhood.

This year, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce honors Tsuchidana in its “Commitment to Excellence” Art Exhibition, which also features a mix of works by both new and established artists.

“Growing up in Waipahu, I had asthma,” Tsuchidana says. “I was always saying, ‘Boy, I wish I could play baseball.’ But I couldn’t, because I was sickly. I started tracing comics and drawing and that’s how it all started. I did the Waipahu mill over and over and over again.”

30th Annual Art Exhibition

Aug. 19-28

Academy Art Center at Linekona

Tsuchidana attended Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., before continuing his art and education in New York City. In 1972, he returned to Hawaii. He says it was then that he “started to find some identity in my work.” In 1979, he began to paint the abstract art that he continues to work on today.

Tsuchidana’s art largely consists of simple compositions featuring larger and smaller vertical rectangles painted with primary and secondary colors. Originally, he planned to experiment with this composition for two years. “But I did it and did it and I figured there is more to do. So I am still doing it.” He describes his art as the study of angles. “You see the colors of the line and you see the vertical. But it’s really about perspective. In the course of our day we look at things from many different angles.” 

The “Commitment to Excellence” Art Exhibition will showcase pieces that demonstrate Tsuchidana’s development since the ’70s. Tsuchidana says he is still learning all the time.

Emerging Hawaii artists are also encouraged to submit their work for consideration. Three local jurists will select 60 to 80 works for the 30th Annual Exhibition.

For more information, visit www.honolulujapanesechamber.org.


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Honolulu Magazine April 2019
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