Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Raymond Kawataki Go: Brazen and Bellowing Artworks


Rocking it out with his paintbrush, Raymond Kawataki Go bellows between his deepest, darkest subconscious while tiptoeing on the bright light ahead of him – one layer at a time.

At the very core of Filipino painter Raymond Kawataki Go beckons a world of social responsibility that proves artistry can be raised higher without having the need to be loud with your voice at the external world that is filled with social injustices.

 “I’m a social expressionist,” says Kawataki Go. “I’m concerned with the environment. If I could be a politician, I would fix the problems. As a painter, I apply my messages in my paintings. They’re not obvious. They’re hidden. But that’s what I want to show how I tackle these issues.”

Kawataki Go’s paintings are brazen of goblin-looking figures, darkness and morbidly depressing for the amateur art connoisseur. Still, one must look past his themes to notice the stories behind them.  Feeling a sense of discomfort is just part of the experience and that there is a bigger message that needs one’s attention – knowing how to be empathetic with your surroundings.

“What you may see is always negative. But it’s positive in a way because of the changes. I hope you can find the solutions to these issues. I want to show the truth. Unlike other artists, my style is that I don’t necessarily want to show that I’m good at rendering.”

Sporting a ponytail, army pants and tattoos on his forearms, the 37-year-old Kawataki Go was raised in the island province of Marinduque, a few hours south of the Capital. Now based in Quezon City, Kawataki Go’s style has evolved since he started painting seriously in 1994.

During that time, he preferred to showcase his paintings at underground venues because his style has mostly been 'ugly beautiful.'   
“The beauty of my work is that what the eye captures is not the same beauty as what the beauty captures by the heart and of the mind,” says Kawataki Go. “I’m not pretentious. I’m actually showing my personality.”
There's no place like home
There's no Place Like Home (Oil on Canvas) by artist Raymond Kawataki Go

Even today, his works continue to revolve around ‘sinister’ images like in “Mga Sigaw na Walang Tinig (Screaming Without Voice).” In a world where the gap between the rich and the poor continuously widens, the little screams are inaudible to those who've chosen to turn their ears away.
His five years hiatus a few years back enabled him to rediscover Philippine history with books that have influenced his paintings. Moreover, his ancestral roots stemming from Chinese and Japanese influences have allowed him to be closer with his Filipinoness. 

“I've studied Philippine history. There’s a lot of politics in painting… this is what I do. I release my hatred sometimes on certain issues since what else can I do? Old mistakes are done in the past,” he says.  

While his messages are still the same, Filipinos are now more accepting of his paintings. This is why Kawataki Go has been able to show his collections at various galleries. Last year, he had his second solo show and comeback exhibition entitled ‘Of Gods and Patriots’ where he submerges his audience to the realm of power and contradictions, religious and secular, myth and reality.
Little Boy Blue and the Man on the Moon (Oil on Canvas) by artist Raymond Kawataki Go
Little Boy Blue and the Man on the Moon (Oil on Canvas) by artist Raymond Kawataki Go

With each passing year, he has been more convinced of the ‘hardwork to talent’ motto in cementing his talent as a painter in the Philippines. 

A once proclaimed loner, ‘Little Boy Blue and the Man on the Moon,’ is an autobiography of his childhood period. Kawataki Go paints a dog which represents his companion while his father was often away on business trips.

Now married and raising a son, Kawataki Go is finally showing a different personality - a rainbow. 
“I’m happy now because I’m surrounded with family and friends. My work is still sort of morbid. You can follow it. But there’s a saying: ‘Don’t believe in my painting. Believe in me,’” he says.  

“The beauty of my work is that what the eye captures is not the same beauty as what the beauty captures by the heart and of the mind,” says Kawataki Go. “I’m not pretentious. I’m actually showing my personality.” -     from Style by Asia

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