Born in 1986 in Tokyo, Japan, Toru Kashiura currently resides in Ottawa, Canada. He graduated from Tsukuba University in Japan with a Masters in Environmental Science, focusing particularly on climatology.
Upon completion of his post-secondary education, he worked for an outdoor sporting good company for 5 years, after which he worked and traveled in Australia for an additional two years. His experiences working abroad inspired him to start exploring his artistic side, something he always wanted to do but never had the chance.
At the age of 31, he moved from Japan to Ottawa, on his own, to attend the Ottawa School of Art. He continues to create new works in a wide variety of mediums such as oil painting, watercolour, charcoal drawing, digital sculpture, animation, ceramic, clay sculpture and mold making.
– Awards/Exhibition –
In November 2018, he won “The Sheila Durno Memorial Scholarship” for his wooden cat sculpture— which he created prior to arriving in Ottawa—some drawing studies and oil paintings.
In June 2019, he won “The Dario Catana Memorial Mixed Media Scholarship” for his clay sculpture of a woman’s head, a self-portrait oil painting and an oil painting of a skeleton.
In November 2019, he won “The Lilian Evenchick Memorial Sculpture Scholarship” for his ceramic sculpture of a hand, a polymer clay sculpture of a lion and a polymer clay sculpture of a fish.
In the same month, he had his first exhibition “見つめる -Mitsumeru-” at the Lee Matasi Gallery in the Ottawa School of Art.
In May 2020, he won “The Ottawa Art Association Fine Arts Scholarship” for his self-portrait series including a clay sculpture, a charcoal drawing and a collage.
In November 2020, he won “The Ted Marshall memorial Scholarship” for his painting of his grandmothers and sculptures etc.
In December 2020, he had his exhibition “Lights in Life” at the Lee Matasi Gallery in the Ottawa School of Art.
ささやかな幸せ – A little joy –
April 7th 2021
For this exhibition, I picked my four large oil paintings as the main pieces
which I created since last November. Each of these pieces expresses a
moment when I felt a little joy. I can tell these pieces have the same intention.
For me, oil painting is a tool to record and express my emotions and the
atmosphere of the moment. The things what I always keep in my mind when
I paint are line contour, brush stroke, expression of depth and color balance.
It is my challenge to express my feelings through a combination of these
This past winter when I did these paintings was very different from other
years for me. Half a year had passed since the beginning of the pandemic,
my school re-opened and my life got busy again. However, the stay-at-home
order started and I needed to spend all day in my small studio apartment.
Nobody knew what was going to happen next and it was a really uneasy
situation. I took each day as it came and tried to concentrate on finding a
small bit of happiness in every day. I’m sure many of you can relate.
“My Grandmas” is a scene from my sister’s wedding when both my
grandma’s had met again after not seeing each other for a long time. I
haven’t been able to go back to Japan since 2019, the year I came to study
here in Canada. My grandmas are the 2 people who I want to visit first when
I get to go back.
“Cookies” and “Doughnuts” represent symbols of the little things that bring
me joy. I tried to express the joy which these tiny sweets create in the space.
“Byward Market” is a landscape from the beginning of winter. After half a
year since the start of the pandemic, people appeared and I felt a bit less
I will graduate this spring. I would like to keep making art and keep living
here in Canada. However, my visa expiration is approaching and I have to
find a job which supports my work permit. To be honest, I am not sure if I
can keep creating in the same pace as of right now, but I will try to do my
best whatever happens in the future.
The Lee Matasi Gallery Presents:
ささやかな幸せ – A little joy –
Works by Toru Kashiura
April 7 to 21, 2021
An interview with, artist Toru Kashiura
Cathy: Hi, my name is Cathy Brake and I’m the Gallery Coordinator for the Ottawa School of Art, ByWard Market campus.
I’m here with Toru Kashiura, a third-year diploma student at OSA.
Toru is an international student from Japan and has been attending OSA since 2018. Toru is completing his final year of the Diploma Program here at OSA and will be graduating this June.
Toru: Hi Cathy, Thanks for the opportunity.
Cathy: Toru, in your bio, you mentioned you have a Masters degree in Environmental Science focussing on Climatology. What made you want to change career paths to become a visual artist?
Toru: I always wanted to become an artist. However, every time I tried to study art, something disrupted me and I needed to postpone this desire. After I worked for a company and earned money on my own, I thought it was good timing to try things that I really wanted to do. My motto is “I only live once. I don’t want to have regrets.” That’s why I am here now.
Cathy: At OSA you’ve worked with many mediums, such as painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture etc. As you develop your artistic voice, do you see yourself continuing to use a wide range of mediums to express what you want to convey in your work or do you see yourself narrowing down the choice of mediums?
Toru: I don’t think I will narrow down the choice of mediums. Some mediums, especially oil painting and ball point pen are my favourite right now. However, sometimes I feel I need to touch other mediums too because each medium gives me different senses. Also, I don’t want to limit myself. There are so many mediums and techniques in the world. I am pretty sure my curiosity will not run out.
Cathy: Do you feel your formal education in Environmental Science influences or informs the work you produce and do you see yourself following a path of producing work that speaks to climate change issues?
Toru: I don’t think my artworks always have to be connected to Environmental Science. However, my formal educations and life experience are already part of me. In this way, it always influences my work. Currently, I am working on some up-cycle art pieces. I hope some of my artworks can contribute to helping these environmental problems.
Cathy: This year you are completing and graduating from OSA’s 3-year diploma program. Do you have any words of advice to first-year students entering the program?
Toru: OSA was literally my dream school. I met so many wonderful people and had great experience. It is my treasure now. I hope you will also enjoy all your time here.
Cathy: Toru, thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions and for sharing your work with us! Toru’s work is on display in the Lee Matasi gallery at 35 George St. in the ByWard Market from April 7 to 21, 2021, and will also be available to view on the OSA website.