Tim Okamura, born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1968, is a contemporary painter known for his masterful depictions of African American and minority subjects in urban settings. Utilizing a combination of graffiti and realism Okamura’s works investigates identity, the urban environment, metaphor, and cultural iconography through a unique method of painting – one that combines an essentially ‘realist’ approach to the figure with collage, spray paint and mixed media. The juxtaposition of the rawness and urgency of street art and academic ideals has created a visual language that acknowledges a traditional form of storytelling through portraiture, while infusing the work with resonant contemporary motifs.

“As an artist who has worked with portraiture up to this point, I have been drawn to models I felt were compelling as subjects, who were interesting to me on an aesthetic and personal level, and that has generally been a diverse, multicultural group… I’m aware that this also happens to be a group that I believe has been under-represented in portraiture and figurative art on the whole — to put it simply, these are faces that we need to see on gallery walls in the 21st century.”

-Tim Okamura

Tim Okamura earned a B.F.A. with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991. After graduating with an M.F.A. in Illustration as Visual Journalism, Okamura moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he continues to live and work.

Tim Okamura has had several solo exhibitions in New York City and Canada, as well as being selected for several prominent group exhibitions, including “After Matisse/Picasso” at the Museum of Modern Art- affiliated P.S. 1 in Queens NY. The artist has also been selected nine times to appear in the prestigious BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; and in 2006, he was short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen’s Picture Collection for a commissioned portrait of the Queen of England.

Tim Okamura’s art is on display in the permanent collections of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Toronto Congress Center, the Hotel Arts in Calgary, Canada, and Standard Chartered Bank in London, England.

Film Appearance

  • 2014 “HEAVYWEIGHTPAINT”, Martini Films
  • 2007 “The Hottest State”, Barracuda Films
  • 2005 “Prime,” Stratus Films/ Universal
  • 2004 “Jersey Girl,” Miramax
  • 2003 “The School of Rock,” Paramount Pictures
  • 2003 “Just Another Story”, Roxbury Pictures
  • 2003 “Pieces of April,” InDiGent Films
  • 2002 “Unfaithful,” 20th Century Fox

Education

  • 1996-99 New York Academy of Art New York, NY
  • 1993 M.F.A., School of Visual Arts New York, NY
  • 1991 B.F.A., Alberta College of Art and Design Canada

Experience

  • 2001-2011 Adjunct Professor Drawing and Painting New York, NY
  • 1999-2006 Adjunct Professor Drawing and Design New York, NY
  • 2006 Guest Lecturer The Art Students’ League New York, NY
  • 2004 Lecturer Master's Study Tour New York, NY
  • 2000 Guest Lecturer St. John's Queens, NY

Selected Exhibitions

  • 2014 Her Story Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2014 Survey 2009-2014 National Arts Club, New York, NY
  • 2013 This Story Has Not Yet Been Told… The Robert and Sallie Brown Gallery and Museum, The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC
  • 2012 Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, Canada
  • 2011 Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2011 VOLTA NY Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2009 Brooklyn Walls: hopechangedreams Douglas Udell Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2008 Women in White / Bushwick Wall Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, Canada
  • 2006 Urban Portraits + Brooklyn Mythology Axis Art, Calgary, Canada
  • 2005 Urban Portraits + Brooklyn Mythology Delgado-Tomei Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2003 New Urban Portraits + Bricks, Locks, & Obstacles Kanvas Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2002 Recent Work Northsix Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2001 Urban Portraits The Cutting Room, New York, NY
  • 2014 Recent Work, with Jerome Lagarrigue Liquid Art System, Capri, Italy
  • 2009 Love, Strength, & Soul, with The Kid Belo Show & Tell Gallery, Toronto, Canada
  • 2007 Brooklyn Mythology: The First Nations Cycle, with The Kid Belo Axis Contemporary Art, Calgary, Alberta Canada
  • 2014 Fixation Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, IL
  • 2014 MIA in MIA Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2013 Round Zero The Art Director's Club, New York, NY
  • 2013 Body Politic The National Arts Club, New York, NY
  • 2013 From Motion to Stillness Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, IL
  • 2012 Scope Miami 2012 Evan Lurie Gallery, Miami, FL
  • 2012 Toronto International Art Fair Lyons Wier Gallery, Toronto, Canada
  • 2012 The Box That Rocks Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2011 Pulse International Fair Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2011 BP Portrait Awards Exhibition National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
  • 2011 Here and Now Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2010 Pulse International Fair Lyons Wier Gallery, Miami, FL
  • 2010 BP Portrait Awards Exhibition National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
  • 2010 The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks The Pink Elephant Speaks, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, NY
  • 2009 BP Portrait Awards Exhibition National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
  • 2008 BP Portrait Awards Exhibition National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
  • 2007 Toronto International Art Fair Art Fair, Toronto, Canada
  • 2006 Fall Preview Douglas Udell Gallery, Edmonton, Canada
  • 2005 BP Portrait Awards Exhibition Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 2005 Figuratively Speaking: Seven Painters Delgado-Tomei Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2005 BP Portrait Awards Exhibition National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
  • 2004 BP Portrait Awards Exhibition Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen, Scottland
  • 2004 Commissioned/ Non-Commissioned Chung-Cheng Gallery, St. John's University, Queens, NY
  • 2004 BP Portrait Awards Exhibition National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
  • 2003 After Matisse/ Picasso P.S. 1/ MoMA, Queens, NY
  • 2002 The Sound of Art The Puck Building, New York, NY
  • 2002 Fresh 2002 Artspace Gallery, Calgary, Canada
  • 2002 BP Portrait Awards Exhibition National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
  • 2001 Face Value: Portraits for the New Century The Chrysler Building, New York, NY
  • 2001 BP Portrait Awards Exhibition National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
  • 1999 Volte Face: Portraits 450 Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1999 Portrait and Figurative Exhibition Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, Brooklyn, NY
  • 1996 10th Anniversary Exhibition James McMullan Gallery Edmonton, Canada
  • 1992 Endangered Art Directors' Club, New York, NY
  • 1991 After Hours William Mackenzie Center Gallery, Edmonton, Canada