Tuesday, May 31, 2011

R.I.P Kazuhiko Sano 1952-2011

I just received word the great artist Kazu Sano passed today. I only met him a few times but those chance meetings with Kazu made an impact on me that I will carry on for the rest of my life. I first saw Kazu's artwork while in undergrad at SUNY Fredonia. A friend of mines bought in an old National Geographic from the 90's with "some awesome paintings of dinosaurs". Seeing those paintings blew me away. I later found out that Kazu was also the poster artist behind Star Wars:Return of the Jedi, another image that ignited my imagination and propelled me into my eventual life as an artist.

During my graduate studies at the Academy of Art University ,Kazu was on the approval committees from mid-term and thesis. I will always remember how kind and soft spoken he was. I was flabbergasted on how such an unassuming gentleman was responsible for the legendary illustrations that dominated a good portion of the illustration world especially during the 80's and 90's.

One of my last memories of Kazu came at the end of my thesis approval committee. While I was proud of the work I had done I was heartbroken by the lukewarm response I received from some of the committee members on work that had taken me an year and a half to complete. While packing up my things in order to allow the committee members to go to lunch Kazu calmly came over to me were I was gave me the one of the greatest compliments that I have ever received he told me that he really enjoyed my work and that it" made me want to tell stories of my own" he said. After that I thanked him and realized that I was going to stop at nothing at making my dreams come true.

Kazuhiko Sano was a great artist and evermore a great man. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting him will tell you the same. The world has truly lost someone great. My condolences go out to his friends and family.


Below are some of Kazu's powerful work










7 comments:

  1. Beautiful words Ray, I am so sad to hear the news. Kazu was one of the nicest person I have ever met, it's true, we have lost a great artist and a wonderful human being. May he rest in peace.

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  2. So well written, Ray. very inspirational.

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  3. Well written words about a great artist, Ray -- truly a legend of illustration... thanks for that.

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  4. I can truthfully say that Kazu was the person I respected the most in my time at the Academy. He left a deep impression on me and he will be greatly missed.

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  5. Thanks for the kind comments everyone.

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  6. Thank you for this post, Ray. Kazu was one of the most encouraging teachers I ever had. Its great to see that others remember him fondly for the same reasons

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  7. wow ray. we all shared a wonderful thing with kazu. we are lucky.

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