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David Nakabayashi
Practicing Art

Sometimes I think that I have control over my studio practice, but not often. All of my skill, discipline and desire to make art is flowing continuously from my childhood to my middle age and these images and objects could only have been made by me, on this planet, at this moment. But no other human being really cares whether I make it or not. And my studio is a place of chance and ignorance because I never learned how to be an artist. I make art because I failed to find another way to live, which is why I tell anybody not to be an artist if they have a choice. I am doomed to float in this amazing creative flowing river until I drown.
May 18, 2015 Ridgewood, NY


David Nakabayashi
Seeking Space - Bushwick Open Studios 2015

Sometimes I paint prayers. I want to be religious, to surrender to happiness, but I don't believe in God, or happiness. I do believe in haplessness, and also optimism.
April 29, 2015 Ridgewood, NY


David Nakabayashi
Pop Up Gallery - Bushwick Open Studios 2014

After emigrating from the forest of southern New Mexico to New York City, I spent the winter into spring painting New York, the Pacific Ocean, Hawaiian mythology, disembodied hands, petrified wood, cattle wandering rooftops, antiques and tree branches outside my window. I could say that these paintings were created during a major transition, except that I'm always in transition, and despite my tendency to try to carry the past into the future, only the present matters. Painting is always about the moment you are living in.
Ridgewood, Queens, NY May 2014


David Nakabayashi
Albert's Unburnt Logs

A child of the Great Depression, my Step-Dad Albert Ogle (1920 - 2009) refused to burn the firewood he had accumulated over the 17 years I knew him because, as he stated, "we might need the wood someday." He also saved everything new, used and broken in the many closets and storerooms about his mountainside property. In honor of him I have taken several of his saved logs and adorned them with his hoarded materials including spark plugs, lightbulbs, tiles, bottle caps, nails, washers, fabric, tin and work gloves. The result is a little forest of memories. This piece could only have been created by me in this one time and place and through its creation I have learned more about Albert than he ever revealed to me during his life. Also in honor of Albert I am burning his remaining firewood during the cold winter months here in the Sacramento Mts.
High Rolls, NM February 2013


David Nakabayashi

pre·sen·ti·ment - noun :
a feeling that something will or is about to happen.

I move through time and space as a visitor. I linger. I observe. I never stay. I stumble upon situations and strangers: innocent or not so innocent, perhaps dangerous, mostly benign, and from all walks of life. Each unique encounter starts with a mysterious feeling that something is about to happen. The impact of such interactions on my life can be metaphysical, but is mostly insignificant. Yet, I still suspect that every group of people I encounter is on the verge of insurrection and I am addicted to that feeling. I want even the smallest gesture, glance or quiet observation to contain a truth that changes history. The moment I stop moving life resumes its state of predictable melancholy. And so I wait until I can escape once again into uncertainty.
High Rolls, NM - June 2012


David Nakabayashi
Family Reunion and Memento

In 2009 I began to use up my family photos in a series of collage pieces called "Family Reunion". I decided that rather than keep the photographic documentation of my childhood, and my family heritage, in a box I would use it up, like paint. These works illustrate a strange universal narrative that has little to do with me anymore. That same year my mother's husband Albert died. He spent his entire life in New Mexico except for four years in the Army during WWII. He also saved everything. As I have spent the last year sorting through his collection I've discovered some inspiring materials from old documents, heirlooms and photographs to fishing tackle, hats, used wallets and broken watches. I've begun to reinterpret this material through my artwork, including works on paper and found wood, sculpture and installation, and in the process give new life to this otherwise meaningless history. I've blurred the past even further by including my own mementos with his. This continuing project is called "Memento". I have come to know Albert, a very quiet man, more than I ever did while he was alive and for that I am grateful.
High Rolls, NM - March 2012


David Nakabayashi
Artist Statement

I've been wandering around this land since I was a child and have been trying to paint it since I was 12. I rebelled against my normal life for decades by escaping to the desert until I finally escaped by giving up my normal life. So in return the land has filtered into all my endeavors. All my expressions of human connection and disconnection, of culture and of art cannot exist without the land. And on the day that I die I will regret not having been able to capture it.
High Rolls, NM - April 2011


David Nakabayashi

In January 2009 I was driving through Ohio during an ice storm when an out-of-control car came spinning into my lane from the other side of the freeway. A moment later I was standing alone next to my totaled car on a snow-covered embankment. A short while later I sat in a truck-stop restaurant looking out the window, the whole country seeming to pass me by. I sat reflecting on where I have been and the people I have met and realized that all my experiences had led me to that moment standing alone in the snow.
Santa Fe, NM - February 2010


David Nakabayashi

A story has the ability to spark a personal emotional connection in a reader or listener. That connection can take the form of an image, a revelation or a memory that is not contained in the story but illuminated by it. While my recent paintings reflect my life and travels, my personal narrative is irrelevant to the viewer and the artwork can stand alone, undefined. It is in that undefined, mysterious space that my paintings serve to manifest emotional connections to narratives provided by the viewer.
Santa Fe, NM - February 2010


David Nakabayashi
Here & There: Seeing New Ground

I make art like I think a nomad would. I move through space looking at everything. I talk to people and get them to reveal their secrets; I gather things and take them to a working place. I think about it all for long days until all the different images and stories and feelings begin to overlap. I float in this gathering state of mind until the time is right and then the paintings all come out in a frenzy. When it is over I leave again. This practice is a reflection of my life that I have lived as if I was always on my way to somewhere else. I don't know where home is anymore.
Santa Fe, NM - May 4, 2009


David Nakabayashi
Learning To Catch Knives

My artwork is filled with metaphors for the personal challenges encountered during a time of great change including the expectations of family, the pain of lost love, the struggle of new love and the search for cultural identity. My images are both accessible and cryptic, highly personal yet connected to the world around me. While the viewer is inclined to decipher these images, one need not understand the meaning of the icons and the situations in which they appear to appreciate their beauty and the skill with which they have been rendered.
Santa Fe, NM - July 1, 2007


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