Naoaki Funayama (Painter)
Having grown up in a Shizuoka town in the shadow of Mt. Fuji, for Naoaki Funayama, the colossal is quotidian. The goings on at the foot of the mountain can easily seem insignificant rickles in time, microscopic next to the immense. In that sense, Funayama’s local circumstances strongly relate to his art, and his gravitation toward the dinosaur and the volcano, as subject and motif, seems quite natural. Through painting, he creates a bridges between his own experience and Earth’s unremembered millennia. Often forgoing paleontological accuracy, Funayama’s art re-imagines the world as it could have passed and blurs the lines that place uncovered relics in space and time. Cambrian Period Hallucigenia crawl alongside Jurassic and Cretaceous Period dinosaurs. Colors fade along some of their bodies as camouflage in the forests, plains, and mountain ridges they inhabit. Human figures placed in the foreground would hardly stand out if not for the stark juxtaposition they present. Next to the striking greatness of the dinosaur or the daunting potentiality of the volcano, they are merely members of an audience, onlookers to gods. Still, it is exactly that contrast that is most illuminating. It’s not the missing link, but the pursuit itself – to imagine what could stand in such vastness. What could hold the fossil of the unknown.