Joel Nakamura’s Octopus Garden

Do you have a favorite mythological creature? Bigfoot? The Loch Ness Monster? Kraken? “Kraken?” Yes, the legendary Colossal Octopus that had the power to sink ships and wreak havoc on the seven seas.

Santa Fe based artist, Joel Nakamura has been a great friend and collaborator working on his personal mythology in books and exhibitions over the past eighteen years. Joel’s work is deep in narrative and a tribute to the great storytellers of old, Homer’s Odyssey, Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and on…

Joel Nakamura’s latest painting collection, “Octopus Garden,” features brightly animated octopi on metal canvases on exhibit at the Hahn Ross Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I caught up with Joel, as he hangs the show:

mM : What inspired your latest exhibition, “Octopus Garden?”

JOEL : I am exploring a subject that I started painting last year and felt that I still had much more to say about it. This series of work deals with Octopus made of a variety of eclectic materials— gummy candy, artichoke, lava Lamp, watermelon. . .

I have always been interested in the octopus, ever since viewing them close up at different aquariums. They are an interesting living form to paint—both simple and complex.

mM : Please identify one piece where you feel like it really captures the narrative of the show and describe?

JOEL : The piece, “Gummy Octopus,” (11x17," polymer/mixed media on metal), captures the unexpected gummy material and how it transforms the creature’s makeup into an unexpected form.

Have a great exhibit Joel Nakamura and thanks for taking time out. Joel will be on display at the Hahn Ross Gallery and was recently exhibited at “Lucid Dreams” in San Diego. More soon.

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