20 years of
SIMPLICITY & ELEGANCE
Stories in Sculpture by Tomoaki Orikasa
About The Artist
Working as a master mold maker and fabricator Tomoaki Orikasa has been an extension of other artists’ studios in addition to his own. He has assisted in the completion of public works dappling the globe at landmark sites such as The Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, the Oklahoma State Capital Building Dome and the Ground Zero Memorial Site in New York. Tomoaki has enjoyed the opportunity to work with a long list of well-established sculptors; to include Douwe Blumberg, Paul Moore, Enoch Kelly Haney, Tuck Langland and Jocelyn Russell. Their creative projects, alongside his own, challenged him to perfect his technical craft over the last two decades but Tomoaki was not always destined to be an artist.
In 1994 Orikasa came to America from Chiba, Japan to study business, not art. Desiring a broad international business education, for his son, Orikasa’s father sent him to study business at University in the United States. During his first semester Tomoaki selected an arts elective, Jewelry 101. He never expected that he would like the class or that by the end of the semester he would be writing his family to inform them that he was changing majors. Four years later, in 1998, Orikasa graduated with a Bachelor’s of Art from University of Central Oklahoma. Two years after graduating Orikasa took a job as an assistant, under the
guidance of Master Foundrymen Steve and Mark Palmerton at the same facility where he now holds the title Chief Mold Maker; following 15 years of apprenticeship.
Tomoaki’s earliest works focused on abstract concepts in jewelry design and expressive figural forms which both stayed at the vanguard of his works until he began constructing anamorphic creations around the year 2005 through his Yolk Art bronze series. As Orikasa became more comfortable blurring the lines between reality and his artistic vision he started to create studies in narrative work. Living between spoken languages brought body language to the forefront of Tomoaki’s narrative anamorphs and eventually led to the first of the artist’s Eggtion Figures being created in early 2016. Over the year that followed Orikasa perfected the production and assembly of small parts that allow him to articulate his works into emotional fluency. The moments his sculptures capture portray simple, relevant human experiences that are commonplace.
About The Eggs
In the pantheon of inanimate objects, that a person could fall passionately in love with, the egg stands alone. It is a web of endless metaphors and juxtapositions; an imperfect shape so captivating that it’s iconic. It’s fragile yet strong. It’s inanimate yet alive. It’s a conundrum for any willing mind and a beautifully androgynous symbol for life that has appeared consistently in Orikasa’s works for the last fifteen years.
Tomoaki’s Eggtion Figures capture emotive experiences; telling stories that range from comedic to sincere. When the artist conceived the Figures he was looking for a way to bridge his artistic aesthetic with more subjective content; and it was that interest that led him to experiment with anamorphs (inanimate objects that have been brought to life.)
Orikasa’s hands are involved in every stage of creation. Each egg form is hand cast to scale in hardened polymer before an application of patina is applied. The artist hand fabricates the limbs and joints from sheet, rod and tube metals; often adding patina afterwards.
Over 100 holes are hand drilled in each figure to create its articulable joints; allowing the artist to articulate each figure’s body language into perfection before sealing the joints permanently with fixative. Hidden in the base of each figure is a magnet which holds the figure in place on its base. The bases are typically fashioned from steel and often incorporate other materials to create scene components in larger sculptures.