David Stanley Hewett is one of the most well known foreign artists in Japan. His works can be seen in the permanent collections of the Imperial Hotel, Oakwood Premier Tokyo, The Okura Hotel, The Peninsula Hotel, Mitsui Trading and numerous other public and private collections around the world. Hewett first set foot on Japanese soil in 1988. His love for Japanese arts and culture motivated him to study Japanese ceramics, Japanese traditional painting, Obi design and most notably: the technique for making traditional Japanese folding screens. This art is rarely practiced anymore as most screens are now made with modern tools and materials.
As a former US Marine and a long-time practitioner of Japanese Karate, Hewett has always been fascinated with Japanese martial history and culture. The often referred to Samurai code of Bushido and the Japanese Shinto Religion have played significant roles in influencing Hewett’s work over the past decade.
Hewett’s consistently inconsistent use of a variety of materials keep his admirers guessing at what will be next. Hewett’s Nagano studio is akin to a laboratory with beakers and bottles, pigments of a multitude of colors and the smells of Nikawa, the gel that is extracted from deer skin to affix pigments to the paper, floating through the air.
Hewett’s use of gold and deep reds and blues are reminiscent of a visit to a Japanese shrine with their worn brass fittings and fading paintings on wood. Admirers of Hewett’s style find the work bold and calming at the same time and often remark that while apparently simple in composition, the works continue to evolve, revealing over time a complexity and depth not apparent at first.
Since 1992 Hewett has held major exhibitions in Japan, The United States and Singapore.