Pointillist learns all from grandmother
His family line is special, his grand mother was a Kaminchu, a person able to talk to gods, her family being a Kaminchu family since ancient times, but not wanting to mix with those historical traits, she moved to Okinawa Island from Yoron island.
Pointillist artist Kiyota Oshiro, who specializes in Tenbyo drawing, was born in 1973 at Itoman to a very special family with special abilities. His grandmother got married to Kiyota’s grand father, actually one of the Kaminchu relatives. When she awoke, she said “I am the person who lives as a Kaminchu.”
Kiyota is inspired by his grandmother, saying she gives him visions of drawing images even now, after she passed away. He says he doesn’t imagine or draw them by himself, but his grand mother lets him visualize the images, and says the images aren’t his, but are really his grandmother’s.
He surprises himself sometimes after he’s done a drawing, because some messages are beyond what he even remembers painting. His grandmother always taught him when he was a kid that there were some gods called “Mamuigami” who protect all nature before a human being has been born on the earth. After a human has been born, the gods disappear and keep watch over nature and human being’s relations from another world. Kiyota says not to forget about appreciation for anything and reminds people to admit existing each other.
Kiyota thinks the word from ancient times teaches us important things for this generation, and he says he just draws that kind of images or words from his grand mother to the canvas.” I am the deputy person, or assistant,” he says, “and that’s why I really appreciate drawing, ancient people and nature. If I lost this ability, I don’t have anything to do. I am not an artist, just a drawing person who lets the art be a message from another world. Maybe sometime for people who forgot appreciation, sometime for people to get passionate, appreciation for nature is like that.”
The artist says that’s why he doesn’t prohibit taking pictures about his works even at art galleries. He wishes people to get some impressions from his works, and wants people to feel something from them. If people like some works or are impressed with something from them, he wants people to take them out, even photos. He thinks pictures or art works are the items that give impressions to people, and that’s why he want to show his works to people as much as possible.
How does Kiyota get inspiration about drawing? He wakes up 4:30 a.m. in the morning every day, and cleans a place for worship. He starts his work from 5:00 a.m. through 10:00 a.m., because a brain and body physically are flat in the morning, there are no idle thoughts and it is easier to get inspiration. “Of course, I have no idea what time or where I am when inspiration comes to me,” he says, adding “but I will draw images immediately to whatever like tissue at a restaurant, receipt paper at an outside whenever I got inspirations, and will create the image after I got home. The most cases I receive inspiration is the time when I am talking to people, the word or impression hits me, and sometime word is same as my grand mother’s or some action hits me and gives imagination.”
His meditation about his works looks a bit strange. He thinks his works are not his own, but someone’s one, So he draws his works for someone who is waiting for it, someone who want to get a message from the works. The works will be born for someone who is waiting for them. That’s why he sticks to displays about each work. He thinks each work can compare to the naked eye, and wants to show them to people and let people get real inspiration. His duty is finding the right owners for his paintings who will really get impressed. Once the works prove themselves, he can make his life or make new relationships from them. His works make his life bright, and he says he must take care to them.
He dreams that his works bring people to Okinawa from not only mainland Japan but also abroad, and that will improve the Okinawan economy, even if only a small bit. That makes him satisfied, and he can feel his works help Okinawa.
Kiyota went to Hawaii after his high school graduation, lacking any ambitions and following a request from an aunt who lived there and who asked him to come to since he didn’t have anything to do in Okinawa. There, he spent all his time playing soccer until he got injured and gave the game up. He then joined a art graphic team, and became interested in pointillist art technique, tenbyouga, at that time.
A couple years later he decided to enter the Okinawa Art University. He passed the entrance exam and got started studying visual designing. He created his own brand shop and started his business while still a student. After he graduated, he started designing uniforms for restaurants, Izakayas and other venues all by himself. He worked as a teacher sometime, museum educator sometimes, as a designer for public works sometimes, but all the time he kept working pointing art as his own with sometimes strange feelings.
One day, he watched TV and was impressed with a program about the Beatles. The TV program introduced the Beatles donations to developing CT-scan. “They sing a song and earn money and donate to develop an equipment for people. It was shocking to me,” Oshiro says. “They are doing only what they can do, and support people. What is the only thing I can do? What is the way for supporting people I can do? The answer is point art.”
That is his originality and his identity, and he asked his wife to let him to concentrate to create point art. He thought taking care of customers is a work maybe someone can do, but creating point art and give a message with works “is the way that I can only do. That was the start.”
He says he will keep creating his works, including his grand mothers word or message with it. His works are at his gallery named “Gallery Tenbyo”, and at some restaurants or bars.
Gallery Tenbyo opens everyday 1 p.m. ~ 7 p.m., except Wednesday and the 2nd and 4th Sunday.s The address is #102 1-39, Toyosaki, Tomigusuku City. Tel: (098) 987-1109. Kiyota invites people to make advance reservations. His exhibition will also be held at Urasoe Art Museum from October 9th ~ 17th, with entry fee ￥500 for adults and free for kids under 12 years old. For now, he creates works for individual persons who want to have originality.