San Murata lives in an historic small town east of Toronto. In his studio he paints scenes from everyday life, depicted in a folk art style “with a twist”. San’s inimitable colour sense and style convey a truly magical spirit of place. His gouache paintings are lively, colourful, and whimsical yet display a mastery of what can be a very challenging medium. When San started painting in 1994, he chose to paint places he visited like northern Italy, the south of France and Greece. Recently he has been painting the beautiful Northumberland countryside and the St. Lawrence townships of rural Quebec. San works from rough sketches and frequently paints from memory focusing on the mood or feeling of each scene.
San spent his early years in Tokyo and in 1964 graduated from the University of Musashi in Tokyo, Japan, with a degree in Economics. Ever curious and always adventurous, San traveled to Canada in 1968, to “have a look around”. “I was a young and crazy dreamer. Canadian people and their free style impressed me, so I decided to stay.” Before long arts organizations, small businesses and emerging television stations began to take note of the talented young man’s graphic design abilities. As an Art Director and Designer for network television, his work became iconic for their brands. At the same time he created numerous illustrations for books, magazines and newspapers.
San has received numerous awards for his paintings. One work has been purchased by UNICEF, another artwork commissioned for the YMCA by Roslyn Eskind was selected by the Smithsonian Institute for their permanent collection, and another was acquired by the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York.
His first exhibition was at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo followed by the Zenniku Gallery in Hiroshima, Japan.
Since then San has had exhibitions at the Japan Foundation in Toronto, Hannabi Gallery (Tokyo), Yamagataya Gallery (Kagoshima), Gunjo Gallery (Kurume), and Spazio Gallery (Toronto).
He is currently represented by Wallace Gallery in Calgary, the Art Emporium in Vancouver, B.C. and the Gunjo Gallery in Kurume, Japan.
Photo credit:Gerald Taylor