Andrew Yamauchi

Visions of Paradise

<em>Pacific Heights</em>, oil on canvas, 2014, 54 x 59 inches
Pacific Heights, oil on canvas, 2014, 54 x 59 inches


Andrew Yamauchi is a student at the University of Hawai’i where he is working toward a BFA in painting. His work has been exhibited at several galleries in Honolulu.

“The landscape in my work is where I’m from, the island of Oahu. The narrative is dealing with life here and social issues, social tensions. A lot of it is just through growing up here and what you observe. Hawaii especially, as with any tourist destination, people have this expectation of what it’s like. And growing up, you have those expectations yourself. You’re led to believe that it’s this paradise.

For myself, I expected I would be like my parents and settle down here and have a family. But the cost of living is prohibitive. I don’t see myself doing that anymore, having a house and a family. My work plays upon those expectations and this other narrative you have in your head, like the American Dream, but dealing specifically with Hawaii. I have fond childhood memories, but growing up, I guess the path you expect your life to take is different.

We live in Hawaii, but we take it for granted. The people living here just see it everyday, so it’s like, ‘Whatever.’ The closest we ever get to nature is by getting out in the mountains and hiking. It’s cool, but the city is always right over there, it’s not truly in the wild. You go out in the environment, but you’re not really connected to it. It’s not for me to say if you’re connected to it or not, but for myself, I’ve never had a super strong connection to nature. It’s about indifference, you know?”

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Noelani Kirschner is a former assistant editor for the Scholar.


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