Conceptual Realism – Audrey Kawasaki
Audrey Kawasaki Beginnings
Audrey Kawasaki is an American painter born in March 1982 in Los Angeles, California. Her parents are Japanese-American and she has been immersed in the culture of Japan all her life. In a recent (email only) interview she stated that she went to Japanese school every Saturday and grew up reading Manga, watching taped Japanese television shows, and listening to Japanese pop music.
She is very private and, to my knowledge, has never granted a face-to-face interview.
Influences, Media and Style
Ms. Kawasaki cites Manga as an influence in her work as well as Art Nouveau.
Kawasaki states that she adopted wood (much as did Amy Sol) as a medium to paint upon while taking private fine-art classes. She spent “weeks and weeks” drawing bottles, cups and vases in pencil. She then moved on to charcoal and eventually oils.
She did not like canvas; it’s too white and the surface too course. So between instruction she would go on “scavenger hunts” looking for planks of wood or panel. She would not even sand them first, preferring to use them as she found them. But they still provided, for Kawasaki, a better surface to paint on than canvas.
She continues to paint with oils on wooden panel to this day. Part of the process, she says, is that she purchases the panel and then sands it smooth with a random orbital sander. She also likes to round the corners (apparent in one of the images included here) first.
Once she has the wood smooth she then draws, in pencil, her ultimate subject. This may take two or three days of drawing, erasing, even sanding (if the pencil marks are too apparent) before she has the subject she wants. Once this done she’ll seal the entire panel with an acrylic gel and begin painting in earnest with thin layers of oils and washes. Finishing with bolder brush strokes for the eyes, lips, and hair.
Finally she’ll seal the piece with polyurethane to protect it.
What is most visible in the work is that the grain of the wood often shows through all but the most boldly painted areas.
Internet Impact and Sales
There’s a YouTube video of a couple named Dawn and Drew attempting to purchase an Audrey Kawasaki print, not an original. There were two hundred prints offered at about $100 per print. Despite the best attempts of the couple, logging into her site at exactly 6:00 PM PST within the space of a minute all two hundred prints had sold out.
This is approximately twenty thousand dollars in roughly a minute. Such is the popularity of this artist.
The prints themselves can be found on eBay at roughly five times the purchase cost at Ms. Kawasaki’s site.
Some of the images presented contain partial nudity. If you are sharing this hub with younger readers be aware of this fact.This applies to the videos below and any images you may see researching this artist on your own.
Featured Artist and Shows
Ms. Kawasaki was the featured artist in the in the issue of Juxtapoz magazine for the January 2012 issue. This issue is currently on newstands. The magazine is well known for detailed articles and high quality glossy reproductions of artst’s works.