Born in 1972 to Japanese parents, Gajin Fujita ('97) wasted no time in establishing himself in the world of art, first while honing his style as a graffiti artist on the streets of East Los Angeles, and later at L.A. Louver and museums such as LACMA, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City) and several international venues in Switzerland, Greece, and Belgium.
Luckman Gallery Director Julie Joyce said of Fujita's work, "His striking color and gold leaf panels depict the same distinguished, mythological figures that may be found in the venerated Japanese tradition of tattoo art as well as ukiyo-e prints - images distributed to the masses in the Edo period yet which resonate today with amazing magnificence."
Fujita blends Eastern techniques (anime, partitioned screens), and elements (geishas, warriors, demons), with Western, urban imagery (Latino graffiti, U.S. pop culture imagery) in a way that is stunning and vibrant, yet harmonious.
His startling works embody the cultural and class contradictions that are an integral part of urban Los Angeles. He constantly explores how artistic traditions are both maintained and altered as they move across stylistic and national borders.
According to the artist himself, "I kind of look at myself as a hip-hopper, the way of a DJ would sample all sorts of great music from the past - sounds and beats. I'm just doing it with visuals."