Imagine being face to face with artists you revere and having the opportunity to memorialize their artistry for all time. That was the experience that launched art photographer, Wayne Shimabukuro, on a unique trajectory that is celebrated in RAFFMA’s powerful exhibit, “Made in California: Art + Photographic Portraits of Artists by Shimabukuro,” now on display.
The exhibit, which launched on October 5, at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) features close to 40 iconic California artists photographed by Shimabukuro in his trademark style. The artists are photographed with their work, or in some cases, their three-dimensional work is alongside their portrait in the RAFFMA gallery. All of the work was created in California between the 1960s and today.
Shimabukuro, a California native of Japanese ancestry, grew up in Highland Park near the Southwest Museum. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles decades ago and began his photography practice as a college student in L.A.
Shimabukuro initiated the photograph of David Hockney, who was one of his first photographic subjects, in Hockney’s studio with his work, and Shimabukuro’s unique artist portrait photography emerged. Since that time, he has photographed hundreds of artists with their work in the California area.
“It was after college when I asked to photograph David Hockney, one of California’s most renowned artists,” said Shimabukuro. “The experience of getting to meet and memorialize an artist I have a high regard for was unforgettable, and it launched me in my practice of commemorating some of California’s most iconic artists.”
Museum director, Eva Kirsch, collaborating with Shimabukuro, worked to create this distinct cultural journey in California-specific art by gathering iconic pieces of Shimabukuro’s collection. This incredible display of work covers decades of artists that Shimabukuro worked with throughout the years, as well as some newly captured portraits taken by Shimabukuro, of many of these same artists. It is a body of work to be viewed and appreciated by all art lovers.
“This RAFFMA exhibit is one to behold,” said Kirsch. “We encourage everyone to come and view it this fall season, as it will be displayed here until December 7.”
Some of the artists featured in the exhibit are Alison and Betye Saar, Ed Moses, Astrid Preston, David Hockney, Gronk, Frank Gehry, Charles Hill, Peter Alexander, to name just a few.
The RAFFMA museum is a remarkable resource for the California State University, San Bernardino students, as well as for the community. There is a permanent collection of Egyptian antiquities, ceramics, as well as contemporary art. There will be various lectures and events coming to the museum this school season. Be sure to put it on your calendar as a site to visit and explore.
Coming Up: There will be a special California Art Crawl on October 27. The tour bus will be heading out of RAFFMA late October and going to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. In addition, there will be a visit to the Laguna Art Museum with a final reception at RAFFMA with Shimabukuro, once the bus gets back from Orange County. Please call for a reservation, as this tour will surely fill up quickly. California Art Crawl: October 27, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.