I found out about Satoru through my older sister who volunteers at the Japanese Cultural Center in Hawaii. On one of my trips back home, she told me “Hey, you need to go to this guy’s gallery. He opens it to the public once a week and you can buy him food and he will sit and talk to you for as long as you want!” Intrigued by this, my mom, grandma, nephew, son and I made a trek to Satoru Abe’s gallery, ready with delicious pupus (appetizers) and of course a six pack of beer. He, along with his brother and a fellow artist friend, were such a gracious hosts, and we were lucky enough to be the only patrons that day so all of his attention was with us.
He sat down with my son and brought out his collection of McDonald’s memorabilia and taught him the ways of “collecting”. Then brought out huge photo albums chronicling his adventures in art. He’s been around for awhile. I fell in love with his intricate sculptures and simple paintings.
We sat in the main showroom of his gallery on this table that was made out of a huge tree trunk. “I made this” he said. He continued to tell us the story of the table and how he had the trunk shipped to Hawaii. We were honored. He is often called the “Godfather of Hawaii’s Art Scene” and rightfully so. He, along with a group of 6, male, Japanese-American artists from Hawaii started a little art niche called Metcalf Chateau in 1950. This group inspired and mentored each other and was at the forefront of the flourishing art scene in Hawaii. These artists continue to support each other through their love of art.
Walking through his gallery, you can see the different mediums and techniques. It has a huge range from portraiture, abstract painting and sculpting. He is passionate about art and didn’t listen to his parent’s advice upon telling them he was going to quit his dairy job to be an artist. “Well, be prepared to be poor”. The fact that he carried out his passion and continued to do so is what inspired me. On top of all that, he remains to be one of the most down to earth, humble, and appreciative artists I have ever met. He reminds me a lot of my grandpa too. =)
If you are ever on Oahu, visit Satoru Abe’s art gallery.