Street artists lend a special charm to a city. The dedication to walk about with an easel, large or small, to paint a scene can imbue any street corner with a greater sense of importance. We are fortunate to have in our neighborhood an exquisite artist of the highest caliber painting love letters to the Village – Kazuya Morimoto.
Artist Kazuya Morimoto was born and raised in Japan and studied at the Art Factory Institution Of Art with Makoto Arimichi in Japan. Shortly after graduation, Kazuya moved to New York City to study painting at the Art Students League. Since 2000, his work has also included abstract painting. He was awarded several grants and scholarships, and has had exhibitions and public art displayed in New York, Chicago, and Washington DC.
Black ink drawings are his staple since his move to New York. He traveled to Europe in 2006, and since then he has started to sketch street scenes more intensively and begun to use watercolor which naturally brought more hues into his artwork. He still goes back to Europe every summer for independent sketch travel.
Nowadays Kazuya Morimoto has been devoting most of his time to painting the streets of New York City, especially Greenwich Village and the West Village neighborhoods shaped by historic preservation efforts. He has been archiving old shopfronts and capturing the moments of local scenes before they change and lose their current quality. He attends local art events and helps to save and revitalize the uniqueness of local scenes.
We see him here and there in some of the quaintest parts of the Village, where he lives, and finally had a chance to interview him. Why is he so fond of painting here? “Greenwich Village is very beautiful visually. It is a relaxed area, less crazy compared to the rest of the city. I like to meet people and I like to paint something old.” And what are some of his favorites are to sit and paint? “That is hard to say, things are always changing each season. I like West 4th Street, with local people it is a real neighborhood. And Bleecker Street too, it is more busy and touristy. Hudson Street is another favorite.” Explore his work online and perhaps you will come across his rendition of your favorite local scene.
Kazuya is an amazing painter but not a teacher, though he has on occasion offered guidance to individual artists. “Art cannot be taught, it is an expression. I didn’t learn it all in school. I break all the rules, that is why my paintings are a little different.” Most recently he was at the Perry Street block fair. When you see him and his work in the area, stop and say hi, and see if you might procure a piece or two or three. If you do not see him in the neighborhood, you can check out his work at his website here and on Instagram here; his handle is @kazuyamorimoto.