Artist you should knowArts and CultureCOVID

Artist Captures the Emptiness of 2020 in San Francisco

Sign up for the best newsletter EVER!

The “Artist You Should Know” series highlights Bay Area artists before they exhibit their work somewhere awesome, it’s our way of supporting the creative community and helping to keep San Francisco a strange and wonderful place.

The Closed Corner

Hiroshi Sato was born in Japan and spent his childhood in Tanzania, he got his BFA and an MFA from the Academy of Art in San Francisco.   We took notice of this series because it is one of the first that specifically tackles the mood and void of an SF neighborhood during the pandemic.

Art imitates life and Sato mostly uses his wife as a model. His work is not political or edgy, but it its depth, and his work with light, leave an impression.  Blending several artistic styles and techniques, old and new, to produce the right texture and mood.

Best Newsletter Ever!

Join our weekly newsletter so we can send you awesome freebies, weird events, incredible articles, and gold doubloons (note: one of these is not true).

In his new series on San Francisco in 2020, the Sunset District’s Marrow gallery describes Sato’s work as, “exploring the sudden shift in San Francisco during the pandemic. He explores how the city has grown quiet, while the anxiety of the moment creates an internal noise that cannot be suppressed. Continuing his use of solitary figures, Sato captures the shift from a bustling metropolis to a quiet dissonance as the city clears and invites introspection.”

Hiroshi Sato: Artist you should know

Name: Hiroshi Sato

Medium(s): Oil on canvas

When did you arrive in San Francisco? 

I arrived in San Francisco in 2008

What was your first job in San Francisco?

As an artist after graduating college

The Rise

I’m a sophisticated graduate with a BFA or FUCK art school!

I did BFA and MFA

How is this series representative of San Francisco right now?

This series is more my impression of how the city feels from my perception,  we all understand what change has happened and what change is happening in our daily lives.  This series is based around my personal feeling of what this city feels like. The dissonance of a much quieter physical place amid the noise of anxious internal dialogues occurring in isolated individuals, the internal dialogue is similar and repetitive, and we all know what the contents of this dialogue is. This dense city rising in vacancy. Blocks of buildings routinely bought out to be office spaces currently completely redundant, blocks are now voids for sidewalks to wrap around, and that sidewalk serving its purpose as a five-block line for the food bank just outside my studio. The people in line, the people struggling to live in this city are left without choice. All while the California light staying the same. 

The Visit

What is ‘contemporary representational art’? 

Contemporary representational art can simply be a description of art that paint representational living in today, or representational art that is not strictly adhering to academic traditionalist methods.

How do you get that texture on your paintings?

Texture is mainly achieved by layering in conjunction with modulation of paint consistency, i.e; Thick layer of paint on top of thin layer of paint.


How do you decide about the light composition in this series of paintings? 

The light is decided purely by design and how it divides the surface and leads the eye.

Is light as important to the composition as it seems? Like it was to the impressionists 150+ years ago? 

Light is how we can see things look like things, so for representational painting it is inherent. It can be everything. It is also a narrative device, especially helpful to create ambiguous and varied interpretation to the viewer:

How do you know a landscape painting is depicting sunrise or sunset purely by the light?


Any SF artists you think are particularly outstanding right now?

There are many, and many are in the local galleries, it would probably be best to look at the local galleries to see the variation of SF artist. My personal living SF artist that I referenced in the Entry piece is Kim Froshin, she is more than outstanding.

Pesive Smoker, by Kim Froshin

What’s the coolest gallery right now?

The gallery I have the current show at? Marrow Gallery

Favorite street art right now?

Aryz work in the Tenderloin

Artist: Aryz Location: Tenderloin

What does it take to make it as an artist in SF these days?

The sensible and realistic answer would be to not live in SF? 

Also, as of this writing of Sept 2020, I don’t think any answer would make sense.

The Artist Talk during Sato’s Artist In Residence at Cheekwood:

What’s coming up for you?

The current show at Marrow Gallery open until the 26th of September was my main priority, and there were back to back show commitments I had until then, so I would like a little break. 

To veiw the show or inquire about it see the Marrow Gallery here.

Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

Who Wants a Copy of "She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics...and the World"

Next post

SF Will Now Allow Indoor Salons, Gyms, Tattoos & Museums

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

If you're a writer, artist, or performer who would like to get your work out there, or if you've got great things to promote, we've got 120k social followers and really fun ways to reach them. We make noise for our partners, and for our community.
alex at