By Morgan Booth
Ron Kuwahara is an artist based out of Halifax. After retiring from a successful career in science, Ron attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Univeristy earning a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and persuing his life long passion of becoming an artist. Ron’s current body of work focuses on emphasising patterns created within natural landscapes through abstraction. We welcome Ron to the easel tonight to paint it out for a chance to be a champion at Art Battle 51.
What type of research have you done in the past? Has your scientific background influenced your art at all?
I did research in the detection of underwater objects using acoustic and magnetic fields for the Canadian defence department. While the subject matter does not relate to my artistic work, the whole aspect of problem solving, and investigative data collection applies to my art practice.
What was the deciding factor for you in your decision to pursue art?
The deciding factor was having the time to do art – I had a fulfilling career as a scientist, so by retiring from a full-time career, I jumped at the opportunity.
Your recent body of work is a series of landscape abstractions, you are skilled figurative and abstract artist, what prompted you to blend the two painting styles in this work?
I still love figurative work, but always like the abstraction – perhaps relating back to my scientific background to go back to first principles at the underlying abstract features that make up our vision.
Out of all of the places you’ve travelled, where have you found the most inspiration?
I have traveled extensively in Europe to attend scientific meetings, but always made time to see the great art galleries. My most memorable place was taking a week solo holiday in Paris and spending the whole time drawing and painting the famous scenes of Paris.
You recently graduated from NSCAD with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, what was it like going back to school after already having a successful career in science?
I was apprehensive whether I might fit in with much younger and creative students, but once we started talking and doing art, the barriers disappeared. Art school was a fully satisfying experience. NSCAD is a great school and much more enjoyable than my years doing science at UBC and Queens.
You currently are showing work in Swoon Gallery. Do you think it is important for an artist to exhibit their work?
It has been a challenge to find ways to show my art. The challenge was both to find venues and also to overcome my own insecurities whether there would be a receptive audience. The reward has been the very positive response I have received for my recent works.
What prompted you to apply for Art Battle?
I felt excited when I saw the first call for participants – both challenged and scared. I knew I wanted to face my fears about showing and doing work in public. As well I love painting and like to work fast. I thought it would be a good way to break new ground in how I paint. I also tend to take things seriously and challenged myself to have some fun with art too.
Do you have a Battle game plan?
I enjoy painting people and want to do a combination of quick observing of the audience and people from memory.