Frank Satogata


Frank Satogata


White Flower, Pink Stamen
Dye Sublimation Print on Aluminum

20 x 30 inches

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Being of Japanese ancestry and raised in a Western culture, I am constantly searching for ways to integrate the best of both cultures into my personal identity as a painter. My search has focused on understanding the relationship between Zen Calligraphy and Abstract Expressionism. Spontaneity of Brush Strokes and Evidence of Process are an important part of both and an essential part of my work. I am constantly refining my mark making so it becomes more and more a part of my personal calligraphy.

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, I live in Cincinnati, Ohio where I have worked as a graphic designer for more than 30 years. I studied at the University of Minnesota, the Heatherly School of Fine Art in London, England, the Columbus College of Art and Design and Syracuse University. In addition, I was adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and the Art Academy of Cincinnati. 

"Since the turn of the 10th century, when painters moved away from meticulous depiction of reality, there has been a transition to a personal application of the medium as an identifying marker to create an artist's identity. From Sargent, to Monet, to Matisse, to DeKooning, we have learned to recognize an artist's work by the set of marks they apply to canvas. 


In the East, the importance of a personal mark has been known since the 8th century when calligraphy was accepted as a form of art. Contemporary calligraphers like Shibayama and Fukushima have continued the work of ancient masters such as Hakuin and Sengai.

Although, some of the stroke and drippings may seem arbitrary, the painting itself is created in layers with each stroke being a reaction to the one that came before it. I refer to this as "Controlled Spontaneity." I apply the medium in different densities of opaque and transparent layers, allowing some layers below to show through, giving the viewer a glimpse into my painting process. the juxtaposition of colors (Light vs. dark, analogous vs. contrasting, saturated vs. unsaturated, transparent vs. opaque) are what give my painting its vibrancy.

I continue to embrace the influences of the East and West, as I continue working in both the representational and abstract realms. My personal calligraphy and color sensitivity being the common thread that link them together."