Tetsuya Ishida

Japan / 1973 - 2005 / wikipedia
Tetsuya Ishida (石田 徹也 Ishida Tetsuya?, June 16, 1973 – May 23, 2005) was a Japanese painter, best known for his surreal portrayal of an ordinary Japanese life. He died in 2005 when he was struck by a train at a level crossing.

Tetsuya Ishida was born in Yaizu, Shizuoka, the youngest of four sons. His father was a member of parliament and his mother a housewife. He graduated from Yaizu Central High School in 1992. Ishida stated in interviews that it was during this period that his parents and school principal put pressure on him to thrive academically and develop a career as a teacher or chemist. This experience later appeared in some of his paintings that explore the society's expectations of youths.

Ishida's works feature three major themes: Japan's identity and role in today's world; Japan's social and academic educational structures; and Japanese people's struggles to adapt to social and technological changes in Japanese contemporary life.

Ishida's works convey isolation, anxiety, crisis of identity, skepticism, claustrophobia and solitude. Ishida explored several motifs, including portrayals of school-boys and business-men as a part of a factory and young people as physically integrated with everyday household objects. Though the subjects in this series appear to resemble Ishida's own face, Ishida denied these works were self-portraits.

Ishida shared anecdotes of his parents expressing bewilderment over his art style and the dark nature of his works. His mother was particularly upset by one of his self portraits as she felt it was too dark, but he assured her that it was him at his happiest because he felt he could communicate better through his painting than he could in person. He later reported that his parents came to accept his works as part of his personality and that they, particularly his father, were able to appreciate his works even though they still didn't understand his art.

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Olivier Villard


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