A sunburst of spray paint and thick white strokes. A marbleized green canvas divided by one pink square. A painting crossed with string and spotted with concave eggshells, bursting with yellow foam.
These pieces originate from the imaginative mind of Yuki Kawae, a senior art major and president of the Student Art Association. Kawae first decided to pursue art his sophomore year because he found that it was the best way to give back to the friends and family who have supported him.
Much of Kawae's art is vivid and abstract, created from smashed eggshells, spray paint, string, wood and even rust. "I use anything, but what I like most is organic material … anything I can use to portray my goal," Kawae said, adding that art always involves chaos and he tries to provide it with order.
In one of his pieces, he uses the roundness of old eggshells to contrast a linear web of string covering the canvas. "I'm interested in trying to control what materials do," Kawae said, noting that he doesn't like "getting stranded by shapes."
While most of his early pieces are strictly representative, Kawae said that art professor Doug Anderson pushed him to become more adventurous with his work. "I focus more on context than what it is," Kawae said. This is especially clear given his piece that was displayed in the Bridge Gallery's last exhibit: a massive flag made of faded wood, backed by jagged two-by-fours.
"I've been seeing two-by-fours everywhere, and they tell a lot of history," Kawae said. He added that he was inspired by the idea of the American countryside and wanted to embody that culture in his artwork. "Anything that throws a ball at me, I'll catch it and make it visually pleasing."
Kawae said he draws inspiration from "the environment that I'm in, or the stuff that I'm seeing or feeling in general." One of his pieces - a murky green canvas with a small pink square in the center - was inspired by a visit to the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, where he saw a piece created on the idea of "less is more." He said he added the pink square as a focal point.
For Kawae, art is something spontaneous to never stop learning from. He uses his artistic energy to amaze and surprise people who see his work, while showing them another element of something commonplace.
Kawae said he is considering pursuing interior design after college, so he would be able to create art for others to enjoy. He now works as gallery coordinator for the Lederer, Lockhart and Bridge Galleries, helping with the installation of artwork for various shows throughout the year.