- Words and Photos by The Kiddist
In Search of... Okuda in Boston, MA
Introducing "In Search Of..." , Sold Magazine's latest travel series from the perspective of our newest and youngest contributor: The Kiddist. A 12 year old urban art hunter who travels the world, tracking down artists while they work on projects, and asks them to sign his ever growing black book. Come along for the ride!
Okuda painting his mural at HUBweek Boston
It was Friday, two days after my birthday, and I just got wind that one of my favorite artists was in town. I was exhausted from school and had a lot of homework and studying to sort out, but getting a chance to meet the man that is as colorful as his art, I had to make time. Okuda San Miguel’s Instagram led me and my brother to the Seaport area in downtown Boston.
At the Seaport, we found wrapped up sculptures, a work crew, and the artist’s friend overseeing one of the installations... but Okuda proved to be elusive. It might have been an inopportune time to finagle my way in, but I couldn’t resist. I mustered up enough gusto and asked him kindly “would it be possible to give Okuda a call and ask if he will be around anytime soon?” Okuda’s friend was just that... very friendly. He made the call, spoke a little Spanish, and then said something along the lines of “he might be here in a few hours.”
(Creation) Light by Okuda in Boston Seaport
After a few hours of sitting in a Starbucks, sipping mochas, and eating saltine crackers I found in the pocket of my bomber jacket… we decided to call it a day. On the car ride home, I hopped back on IG and saw on Okuda’s story that he was doing a mural late at night somewhere in the city.
Next morning, my brother and I got busy sleuthing. Googling possible mural locations, I came across something called HUBweek that was fast approaching at City Hall downtown. Got some breakfast across the street, scouted the area and found the shipping container. Through a chain linked fence, I saw a glimpse of orange scurrying back and forth from stacked shipping containers checking out each stroke of a spray can. My brother propped himself up on the fence and we slid our “black book” through a gap and handed it to his friend that saw us waving and screaming out “Mr. Okuda!!!!”
(Creation) Water by Okuda in Boston Seaport
Ten minutes later… Okuda gave us five very generous minutes of his time since he was rushing to finish up his mural, and visit the children’s museum later. We expressed our admiration for his work and at the end, he signed our black book.
YES!!! Mission complete.
Five minutes wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to learn more about him and the sculptures he put up at the Seaport. In my research I found that, this installation consists of seven colorful and unique sculptures each depicting different aspects of Boston’s culture, animals, and mythology. They are entitled "Light", "Water", "Coexistence", "Mythological Being 1", "Mythological Being 2", "Wild", and "Domestic". The vibrant art pieces are in the newly developed Seaport area of Boston, MA. They welcome you into the Seaport area as soon as you cross the bridge on Seaport Boulevard, and continue down median for about a third of a mile, passing some of my favorite restaurants along the way.
The colors and abstract nature add a positive and happy flare to this part of this city. I could stand and stare at these beautiful artworks for hours trying to decode the deeper meaning, or I could just ask Okuda himself! I reached out to his team... read below and see what I discovered.
(Mythology) Mythological Being 1 by Okuda in Boston Seaport
The Kiddist: How did you, Mr. Okuda get the opportunity to do the installation in the Boston Seaport area? Were the installations related to your visit to the Boston Children's Museum?
Okuda San Miguel: We received the proposal from Justkids. And like always it was super welcome. The Seaport team wanted to do something special for this new area. I started to work on it around one year ago and finally got to the AIR SEA LAND concept after several idea’s exchanges with Justkids and Boston Seaport.
The same day that we presented the sculptures to the people, we did a special master class with the kids at the children’s museum. They watched a video about my work around the world, which inspired them to draw and paint together with me later that day. Working with kids is always very motivational and funny.
Okuda’s favorite Piece (Mythology) Mythological Being 2 in Boston Seaport
TK: When we met in Boston, you told me the title of the entire installation was “Air, Sea, and Land". What was the inspiration was behind the sculptures at the Seaport?
OSM: Usually my inspiration comes from surrealism, pop art and ancestral cultures (African, Maya, from Asia). Everything in my life, everyday, influences me. But mostly, music and traveling. But this time I also got inspired by mythology and North American Indian culture, and by the actual animals that live around the Boston.
(Natural Balance) Coexistence by Okuda in Boston Seaport
TK: The sculptures had different meanings that were hinted at with the names and figures of each art piece. What does each mean, and what do they have to do with the name and shape of the art pieces?
OSM: The 7 sculptures are a walking down my iconography relating to mother nature and creation. They talk about the Universe through the Chaos Star sculpture, and about the sea with the drippings. About mythology thanks to the eagle woman. About Creation itself via the hand and the seagull. And about nature (the squirrel and the deer).
(Diversity) Domestic by Okuda in Boston Seaport
TK: Most of the sculptures were of animals, do you have a favorite animal and was it one of the sculptures that was part of the installation?
OSM: My favorite animal is the zebra because it looks like a mix between natural and digital. It is not represented in Boston project, though. My favorite sculpture in Boston is the eagle woman because is the highest and because it blends humans and animals at the same level of my usual characters in my paintings.
(Diversity) Wild by Okuda in Boston Seaport
Thank you to Okuda San Miguel for taking time out of his busy schedule to sign my Black Book, and answer a few questions about this project. Tune in to my next mission: In Search Of...
JustKids Official curated this art instillation in collaboration with WS Development who commissioned the entire project in Seaport, Boston, MA.
Justkids is a global creative house that conceives, produces and promotes comprehensive art projects on an international scale with some of the most engaging artists, curators and strategic consultants.