Oral history interview with Frank S. Okada, 1990 Aug. 16-17
Okada, Frank S. (Frank Sumio), 1931-2000
Inada, Lawson Fusao
Martin, David Stone
Peck, James Edward
Cornish School of Allied Arts (Seattle, Wash.)
Cranbrook Academy of Art
University of Oregon
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 87 p.
Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformated in 2010 as 9 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hrs., 38 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Frank Okada conducted 1990 Aug. 16-17, in Seattle, Wash., by Barbara Johns, for the Archives of American Art Northwest Asian American Project. Okada discusses his parents' background; his family including his brothers, John, author of "No-No Boy," and Charlie, a graphic designer; traveling to Japan for the Pacific Northwest Artists and Japan exhibition; being in an internment camp; painting in Eugene, Ore. and Seattle, Wash.; his painting techniques; studying under Leon Derbyshire; his connection with the jazz scene in Seattle in the late 1940s and 1950s including musicians Sammy Davis, Ray Charles, and Quincy Jones; attending Cornish School of Art, Seattle; meeting Mark Tobey; comparision of his painting style to Tobey's; his stint in the Army; attending Cranbrook Academy of Art and studying with painter Fred Mitchell; his Whitney fellowship in New York; study of Japanese, Chinese, and Zen paintings; working for Boeings in the early 1960s; traveling to France on a Guggenheim; teaching at University of Oregon in Eugene; his minimalist work; influence of Japanese art in his painting. Okada mentions Lawson Inada (Asian American poet), Frank Chin (Asian American playwright), artists David Stone Martin, James Edward Peck, Yayoi Kusama, George Tsutakawa, Paul Horiuchi, Ben Shahn, Kenjiro Nomura, Louis Bunce, Bill Ivey, and art gallery owner Zoe Dusanne.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Frank S. Okada, 1990 Aug. 16-17. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Transcript available on line
Location of Originals:
Transcript also available at the University of Washington, Manuscripts Collection, and at the Oregon Historical Society.
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Frank S. Okada (1931-2000) was a painter from Seattle, Wash. Taught at Univ. of Oregon from 1969-1999.
These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001