Exhibits drawing young artists, curators, dealersArt on the Cutting Edge

With the exhibitions of two talented artists from Japan, the director of the Las Vegas Art Museum has noticed an increase in visits from "art-world insiders."

"This kind of show is really attracting a different kind of person — those who are interested in what’s happening on the cutting edge of the art world," director Libby Lumpkin said.

One of the artists, Kaz Oshiro, was born in Okinawa in 1967 but moved to Los Angeles in 1986. The other, Sush Machida Gaikotsu, was born in Maehashi City, right outside of Tokyo, in 1973 and immigrated to the United States 15 years ago.

"Kaz Oshiro: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1999-2006" and "702 Series: Sush Machida Gaikotsu" will be on display through July 8 at the museum, 9600 W. Sahara Ave.

Lumpkin said the exhibitions have attracted young artists from London, Los Angeles and New York, as well as curators from other museums, dealers and collectors.

Gaikotsu, who received a master of fine arts degree in 2002 from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, enjoys creating abstract paintings.

"Since I’ve gotten into painting, the influence of the neon lights comes from the Strip," he said.

Gaikotsu said he majored in art but used to be more of a photographer than a painter.

"Even though a photographer makes more, I’ve always enjoyed to paint," he said.

Many paintings are inspired by Gaikotsu’s fishing hobby. He designs his work of art first and then paints it.

The black cats in his paintings come from the 16th century and symbolize good luck.

"Some people never notice the smallest details," Gaikotsu said.

His works of art include his unique sense of humor, such as an air freshener to keep away the smell of fish on the painting.

"I like shapes, repetition and color movement," he said. "Many times I compare my art with fishing."

Gaikotsu, who has worked as an adjunct art professor at UNLV, said he creates about 20 to 25 paintings a year. "Quality is more important than numbers," he added.

Art began as a hobby for Gaikotsu, but now he wants to make a living as an artist. He also wants to inspire other artists to expose their work.

"Experience is an important element, and after all, art is free," he said.

Oshiro received a master of fine arts degree in 2002 from California State University, Los Angeles. His three-dimensional paintings depict amplifiers, trash cans and other random objects. Some people consider Oshiro more of a sculptor, but the main charm of the work turns out to be the humor behind his art.

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