Editor’s Note: In warmer weather, the pathway near the Museum often displays bright geometric chalk drawings. The article below, written by the Battery Park City Authority for their January newsletter, is about the artist behind the colorful creations.
Name: Yoshihiro Youkee Nishida
Title: Battery Park City Parks Gardener and BPC Resident
Favorite BPC Spot: Area between the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and Wagner Park
Yoshihiro Youkee Nishida was born in Kyoto, Japan. After receiving a law degree from Kwansei University, he moved to the United States and pursued his true passion: art.
Asked about this unconventional career progression, Yoshihiro answers the way a true artist would: “The law is already established. Art is open – and open to interpretation – which means you can make your own path.” And the path he has forged in the art world is a unique one indeed.
At the age of 27, Yoshihiro received his Bachelors of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California. Being the passionate and driven person that he is, Yoshihiro then went on to study at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, earning a Master’s of Fine Arts in Lithography. It was at Cranbrook where Yoshihiro was inspired to take a new direction by one of his professors after receiving an evaluation about his art quality, and at 35 years old he began his journey through art.
Twenty years ago Yoshihiro moved to New York where he began full time work inside a studio. Currently, he is a part-time artist and a gardener in Battery Park City Parks. It is his time as a gardener that has most recently impacted his approach. “Art de Genki,” which means art through vital energy, is the name he now gives his work.
Over the past two decades his solo shows include exhibitions all over the world. His newest exhibition – and first in New York City – “The only Person in the vast world! Practice Accessing Vital Source through Art,” is being showcased at the Center for Remembering & Sharing. This exhibition of acrylic paintings on burlap explores the relationship between materials and the artist. The exhibition will be shown through February 6, 2018.
In his spare time, he likes to visit museums and marvel at work by Matisse, Miró, and Kandinsky, some of his favorite artists of all time. Since 2006, from April through October on weekends and holidays, he creates chalk drawings in the park. The park itself has become his studio and his canvas is the pavement. His unique designs incorporating BPC’s hex pavers are a beautiful tribute to the idea that everything is integrated in Battery Park City: gardening, art and living.