John Chin Young

Until his death in 1997 John Young was undoubtedly one of the dominant individuals in Hawaii's art community. He was born in Honolulu on March 26,1909, the son of Chinese immigrants and began drawing at the age of eight, stimulated by Chinese calligraphy, which he learned in Chinese language school. Young had his first and only art lessons while a student at McKinley High School in Honolulu. Thereafter, his art was entirely self-taught and nurtured through a life-long interest in the art and artifacts of many cultures. John Young had his first exhibition at the Honolulu Academy of Arts in Honolulu in 1930. Ten years later he won first prize at the annual exhibition of the Association of Honolulu Artists. In the following years, John Young had numerous solo shows in Honolulu, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles, where he found many admirers of his work. Many of Young's works on canvas or paper appear ultimately rooted in his study of classical Chinese paintings where a sense of vitality is conveyed in spontaneous brush lines. He once described his style as abstract impressionist. It is a style which emerged and evolved over the years and found expression through a number of media including woodcuts, watercolors, oils and acrylics. Gaiety of line and color became the hallmark of his mature style.
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