“Submerged Rocks” pen and ink drawing by Tadashi Sato (1923 – 2005), 1991. Art in Public Places Collection of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
Tadashi Sato was born in Kaupakalua, Hawaiʻi (island of Maui) in 1923 and lived there for most of his life, before and after some time in New York City and Japan. He studied at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Brooklyn Museum Art School, Pratt Institute, and the New School of Social Research, New York before returning back to the Hawaiian islands. Sato became one of the most important artists ever to emerge from Hawaiʻi. His distinctive soft-focus style was first inspired by the landscapes of Nova Scotia, and he drew more inspiration from the natural world of island life. Recipient of a John Hay Whitney Fellowship, he exhibited work in the Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum and Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the De Young Museum, San Francisco. His commissions included the mosaic mural that graces the open rotunda at the State Capitol.
Sato said his works were about structure, color, and definite patterns that create the total composition. The imagery was often drawn from quiet tidal pools and submerged rocks that surrounded him as he pole-fished for mamo on the reef at Nakalele, Maui.