The former US Marine and banker launches a collection of his striking gold leaf and acrylic abstract paintings inspired by bushido, the ancient samurai code of ethics, at the Frederick Harris Gallery.
Once a struggling artist in Kichijoji, David Stanley Hewett’s paintings and screens are now displayed in luxury Tokyo hotels and department stores.
Japan’s first lady, Akie Abe, even presented one of his bushido-themed paintings to Melania Trump, the wife of US President Donald Trump, last year.
His bold, vivid paintings are steeped in samurai mythology.
The Kanazawa gold leaf represents Japanese elegance while the black and red in his works symbolize discipline and passion, according to Hewett.
Originally from upstate New York, Hewett encountered the ideas of bushido while studying karate from age 14.
At age 25, after three years of trying to make a career of art in Japan, he became a warrior himself.
“I joined the Marine Corps thinking I would be surrounded by guys who thought integrity was important, honor mattered, and what you say and what you do should somewhat be aligned,” says Hewett, who became a cold-weather specialist, a rifleman on skis.
“Bushido is a lot about that.”
Hewett, who has exhibited throughout the US and Asia, also creates Japanese folding screens adhered with deerskin gel and nails shaved from bamboo, as well as Kyushu-inspired ceramics.
He is working on an upcoming fashion line.
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