Dec 112020

Kota Ezawa’s Once Upon A Time in the West, 2017, for Murals of La Jolla, in San Diego. Murals of La Jolla is a project started in 2010 by The Athenaeum and the La Jolla Community Foundation. It commissions artists to create work to be displayed on buildings around La Jolla. A map of current work can be found here.

From the Murals of La Jolla website

Kota Ezawa’s mural, Once Upon a Time in the West, pays homage to La Jolla’s landmark contribution to science and architecture. The mural image overlays a stylized portrait of architect Louis Kahn in profile onto a perspectival view of the Salk Institute’s courtyard and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The Salk Institute, located in La Jolla, has been a hub for groundbreaking scientific research since its inception by Jonas Salk in 1960. Kahn was handpicked by Salk to design a flexible laboratory space that would be conducive to the constantly evolving needs of science. Ezawa portrays Kahn deep in thought as the modern, bold architecture of the Salk is depicted behind him. The use of contrasting opaque and transparent forms seamlessly blends Kahn with his creation, suggesting the endless possibilities of science and art.

Kota Ezawa uses graphic stylization reminiscent of Pop Art to create bold, flattened imagery rich with subtle, critical commentary. Ezawa was born in 1969 in Cologne, Germany. He attended the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the early 1990s. He later went on to receive a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA from Stanford University. He is an associate professor in film and fine art at the California College of the Arts in Oakland. Ezawa is known for his labor-intensive, stylized computer animations that re-contextualize history to highlight the biased lens through which pop-culture media is consumed. He seeks to reduce information to its most basic elements to question validity and truth of news and media. He also uses slide projection, light box images, and collage to explore similar themes.