Artist Statement

My art is inspired by my work over the past  three decades as a spiritual teacher and mindset mentor ..  to artists, activist, scientists, business people, and prison inmates. For more than thirty years I have been a student and teacher of  Zen, Hypnotherapy and NLP. All my adult life I have also trained and taught the non-violent martial arts of Aikido and Iaido Swordmichele, in which I hold two fifth-degree and one sixth-degree black-belt ranking.

I use large calligraphic brushes with sumi inks on paper, moving from ‘point zero’ of inner stillness towards an expansive awareness, before or as I create each piece. I want to make visible an inner world. The intention is to invite the viewer to access a ‘whole body state of being present, in the presence of the art.’ I want the viewer not just to see the art, but to experience something akin to the mind-state I experienced as I was creating it.

As in traditional Japanese arts, the negative space around the image or brush-stroke, hold equal importance with the image.

My work is calligraphic – abstract expressive – instantaneous, using energetic brush movement derived from my decades of training and teaching Japanese sword forms. I then add detailed figurative forms in pencil or other media.

Much of my art has been inspired by my dreams. I have created decades of work from just a handful of poignant dreams. In one of them I am a luminous spider hanging from a silk thread in vast space. In another dream, my art is way into a future where the images emerge spontaneously on the surface of  paper or canvas.            

My art is  an intersection between East and West, Realism and Abstraction, my Japanese and my North American heritage. In addition to my art, I am co-founder of ‘Five Changes ’and Manzanita Village Retreat Center near Warner Springs, in  Southern California, where my studio is located, and where I work with my clients and lead retreats.


Selection of  Galleries and Awards

My work has been shown in over a hundred group and solo exhibits, including:

  • Solo Exhibition at Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art, Las Vegas NV
  • Hammer Museum, Westwood, CA
  • Sunset Boulevard Billboard Display, Los Angeles CA
  • Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale CA.
  • TAG Gallery, Santa Monica CA
  • Grey McGear Fine Arts Gallery, Santa Monica CA
  • Studio Channel Islands Black-box Gallery, Camarillo CA
  • Hud/Dab Gallery CA
  • MD Gallery, Los Angeles CA
  • Arc Gallery, San Francisco CA
  • Soma Arts Institute,  San Francisco CA.
  • Noel Baza Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego CA
  • Solo show at Infusion Gallery, Los Angeles CA
  • Soho Gallery, Studio City CA
  • Lark Gallery Online Gallery, co-ordinating with several group shows Los Angeles CA
  • Jarvis Center, New York
  • Awards for Best in show, first prize, and  honorable mentions at shows curated by Laddie Dill John, Jim Morphesis, Kent Twichell, Peter Mays.
  • California Legislature Assembly, Certification of Recognition for my art – 43rd Assembly district Mike Gatto.