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Okuda's Technicolour Life

Words:

Edd Norval
March 18, 2018

Even if you don't know the name, there's a high chance that you've seen the work of Okuda, or the work of an artist who has been inspired by his colourful geometric creations that bring some thoughtful unreality into our daily lives.

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The Santander born artist says he is most inspired by his travels around the world - that's not hard to see. Although the visual language of his coloured geometric panels are consistent throughout his work, the motifs and figures he creates are disparate. There's tribal people and animals - they seem raw and untouched by nefarious behavioural-conditioning systems.


This rawness translates to us as a joie de vivre, contagious to the point that his work, although tackling many lofty issues, is inherently uplifting. Such is the influence of the Surrealist movement on Okuda's work, it is this unreality that first captures our attention and then makes us stop for a minute to see if we fully grasped the extent of what was going on.

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Okuda is clear that his work has no definitive message, that what he portrays is a feeling set free in the world for us to interpret as we see fit. Initially the bright colours are uplifting as part of an urban landscape, they're so different to the usual palette of city life that it's nearly impossible not to experience the colours rather than just to see them - but if you do choose to look at his work, then you'll see the deep melancholic nature it possesses. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing.


A lot of Okuda's outdoor work appears in unique places - monuments, churches, oddly shaped buildings. This reflection on the role of the location is in-keeping with a lot of his work. As the artist states, "That's what art is all about, to give life to lifeless things." Although many of his works feature living things, he breathes life into the concepts beyond just the choice of subject. Sadness doesn't feel alive until the infinite landscape of the galaxy fills up the eyes of one of Okuda's longing portraits - looking right at you, asking if you feel the same way.

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His work is classified as 'pop surrealism', a term that reflects the accessibility of his style, without negating its power and willingness to be interpreted as surrealist - the artistic embodiment of the unconscious mind. Street art and the urban environment is never far away from Okuda, even in his gallery shows. The figures are large, untamed and bold - characteristics he honed on the streets of Madrid.


The work outdoor has a clever way of morphing to fit its architecture, functioning as much as a compliment to it as a statement on its own. As well as the geometric element to his work, a common element is the missing faces. They're there but they're often obscured by colours, being reduced only to an outline. Ghostly apparitions of a state-of-being.


Although it's often metaphorical ruminations that are present rather than outright messages, it's hard to leave his pieces without feeling something - whether you choose to just be invigorated by the colours or to dig that little bit deeper.

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