Yasuaki Okamoto: Thought Provoking, Nature Focused Oil Paintings

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

How do animals fit into this hectic, people-oriented world?

That’s a question New York-based artist Yasuaki Okamoto strives to find answers to within his sometime political, but always thought-provoking artwork. And although his latest endeavors combine pencil drawings with watercolor, what you’ll see below are a few of his poignant oil paintings.

Holding animals close to his heart as his primary inspiration, Yasuaki’s experiences living in Japan, England, Spain and Canada have yielded equally compelling insight. Take a look:

With a title of Coexistence, one expects a peace-oriented work of art that conveys love, justice and acceptance. As you can see, it’s a bit more stark and bleak!


Animals which would normally rule the earth in terms of their size and aggressiveness are chained together, captives to the human world. Is this what our zoos, or worse yet—poachers—are doing to these majestic animals?

How are humans getting in the way of these animals’ natural existence, and what can we do to prevent this from reoccurring throughout history? This well-done piece, simple and blunt as it may be, grows more complex the more you study it.

Next, in a surreal “roomscape” overlooking New York City, artificial light shines brightly down on a hodgepodge of activity. Animals infiltrate human waterholes, gathering around cubicles and filing cabinets, and infiltrating museums and offices.


The Times perhaps depicts the idea that the human world can be a primal and cutthroat as the animal kingdom, as well as overrun with chaos. In the middle of it all is a paper airplane folded from the New York Times, which not only reports on that chaos, but is the all-seeing eye as it symbolically floats over it all on its way to the window.

There’s SO MUCH going on in this painting—I encourage you to take time to inspect every last, intriguing inch!

And finally, a painting that showcases (perhaps) exactly where we’re headed. . .


The future may at first appear bright, but in this painting, the jumble of human-made objects is surrounded by darkness. Taken at face value, it indicates that we headed toward death and destruction from technological advancements, increased warfare, pharmaceutical overload, and governmental regulation.

It begs the question: are we destroying everything in an effort to outdo ourselves and the laws of nature set forth for us at the beginning of time? Is it too late to change course?

There are more questions than answers from this insightful piece.

Of course, there are many other great paintings in Yasuaki’s portfolio. Catch and Damage and Release showcases the sometimes unfair treatment of animals and how humans affect their well-being.

View this painting (and many others) on Yasuaki’s website.


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