Distilling Obsessions and Fascinations: An Interview With Kenichi Hoshine
Kenichi Hoshine is a masterful painter based in New York City. His colors and forms create vibrant displays that mask reference and appear entirely unique. He obscures and fragments images in a way that they almost appear abstract, but this synthesis makes them precise descriptors for a feeling and mood. He's been featured in New American Paintings and Booooooom, in addition to showing around the world.
After seeing his work recently at Pt. 2 Gallery, and seeing some of the beautiful work from his solo exhibit at Colección SOLO, we caught up with Hoshine and heard some of his thoughts on social media, museums in New York, and more. Read on below.
When did you start painting? What was your earliest work like?
I started to "really" paint during art school (The School of Visual Arts in New York City). My earliest work was based on observation and realism that slowly transmuted into mixed media paintings that used my own photography as source materials. I was using mediums like beeswax, shellac, gel medium, etc. My current body of work came after this phase.
What was the last album you listened to all the way through?
"Horse Stories" by Dirty Three
It seems like your work has become substantially more abstract over the course of the last 10 years. Where do you think that has come from?
I don't like it when my work starts to feel TOO familiar and routine. I try my best to avoid stasis in my methodology and output. If you have been painting for many years, it's natural for the work to progress in other directions. I don't think my current work is necessarily THAT abstract. It's just a stronger distillation of my current obsessions and fascinations.
What’s something you miss about New York from when you moved there versus now?
I actually remember New York City in the early 80's. I know a lot of people wax poetic about the gritty and "real" NYC of that time. But the current NYC is a lot safer and more livable than that period. One thing I do miss is the small music venues that used to host a lot of the indie bands I grew up listening. I miss Tramps, Brownies, the old Knitting Factory, CBGBs, etc.
How do you treat social media? Do you have deliberate rules for yourself?
For me, social media is a guilty pleasure and a wonderful marketing/promotional tool. It's difficult to avoid getting sucked down the rabbit hole of clicking on an image, then another, then another... I have met incredible new artists through Instagram that would've been impossible in any other case. And I have received many professional/business opportunities through it. Including this very interview. It's rather amazing. I don't necessarily have rules for myself, but I guess one should never take it TOO seriously.
What hobby do you spend the most time doing?
Do you go to museums in New York often? What one do you go to the most?
I do go to most, if not all, of the major art museums in the city. Though the price of admission to these institutions have gotten prohibitively high and visiting them makes you think twice. In the past few years, I've enjoyed going to the new Whitney and the Met Breuer. But for the people reading this, I highly recommend checking out the Lower East Side galleries in NYC such as The Shrine, Denny Gallery, Sargent's Daughters, Thierry Goldberg, Canada, Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, etc. These galleries have been showing some of the best paintings in all of NYC.
Who are some artists you’ve been excited about lately?
In no particular order: Sean Sullivan (@parade.pimlico.pearl), Francisco Mendes Moreira (@franciscomendesmoreira), Jordy Kerwick (@jordykerwick), Zach Bruder (@zachbruder), Hiroya Kurata (@hiro_kurata), Maja Ruznic (@majaruz), Karen Machiavelli (@ducatimist), Scott Anderson (@scott_m_anderson), Erin Lawlor (@theerinlawlor), Ben Jamie (@benjamie), and Kyle Staver (@kylestaver).