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Santa Cruz, CA
“I feel proud of my talent and feel proud sharing it with others.”
Ken’s artistic talent was evident at a young age and has continued to be a source of pride and enjoyment for him throughout his life. Born in Japan, Ken moved to the U.S. at the age of 3 and was diagnosed with autism soon after. Ken had an early gift for drawing that was nurtured by his parents. Enrolled in art classes with Susana Terrell since kindergarten, Ken garnered respect and admiration by the detailed artistry and versatile imagination present in his art.
Describing his style, Ken expresses “Sometimes people will describe my art as photorealistic. Each piece is different, but I’m always into the details.” Ken shares that he takes photos of places he enjoys, and if the photo is unique or interesting, he recreates it as a drawing or painting. His favorite materials include colored pencils and watercolor because they help him achieve the high level of detail he desires. The length of time it takes to create a piece varies depending on the level of precision he wants to exude into the piece, sometimes taking a month to two months.
From his model train collection to family visits at historic locations, Ken’s depictions are grounded in experience. He expresses, “When I was five I went to ride a train at the Roaring Camp Railroad with my family. I loved the rhythm of the train- the sounds, the clacking wheels and chugging of the engine. My art tries to share the way trains make me feel.” Ken hopes these scenes spark creativity and joy in others.
Ken has benefited from his attendance in Santa Cruz and Pajaro Valley schools, Cabrillo College, and Aptos Post Secondary Special Services. He has been the recipient of numerous awards in community shows and two Santa Cruz County Fair poster contests. Ken was the featured artist for the 2015 and 2016 Orchard Supply Hardware® Train Calendars and the youngest artist in the train calendars’ forty-one year history. In January of 2016, he joined the Claraty Arts project in Santa Cruz, CA, a program dedicated to the advancement of artists with disabilities. Ken’s extraordinary artistic dedication and the public reception of his work promises a fulfilling artistic career.
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