Gerard Tsutakawa, b.1947, is a second generation Seattle artist and the first-born son to George and Ayame Tsutakawa. He studied art in his father’s sculpture studio as a tutorial apprenticeship for 20 years. In 1976 Gerard started creating his own original artwork and first showing at an Artist Cooperative Gallery named Cicada in the International District. In the last 48 years he created over 500 large and small sculptures. He has also designed and created furniture, wood stoves, and jewelry. Gerard has created and installed more than 80 significant large public and private sculptures and fountains. Some of the artist’s local public art commissions include the Fountain of Seseragi at the Seattle Center, the MITT at T-Mobile Park, and the Thunderbolt at the Four Seasons Hotel.
I design sculptures to seek the very essence, the simplicity of a concentrated energy. My ideas speak the language of shape. Three dimensional art engages us, as nature does, on a fundamental level. There is a place in us that is touched by the power of forms. I want my works to uplift the spirit as a graceful gesture, to inspire feelings of happiness and timelessness. As a (Sansei) Japanese American, my designs are a confluence of the cultures and traditions of the Pacific Rim. Growing up with a heritage of Japanese design and in the Pacific Northwest’s beautiful natural environment has instilled a humanistic spirit to my sculptures. I may be inspired by a Tongan war club or the folds of origami paper. These elements and feelings are subliminally integrated into my art.
I began in 1971 working as an apprentice learning to fabricate large bronze fountains and sculptures. My early career included explorations of abstract expressionism, with its freedom of design and a tempered sense of balance. My first public art commission was in 1978, a dragon for the International District Children’s Park. In 1999 I created the iconic “MITT” sculpture blending both whimsy and baseball history for the Seattle Mariners Stadium. These sculptures are approachable and interactive, a theme that has become a basis for many of my public sculpture designs. My 48 years of studying and creating art have taught me to believe in myself. My knowledge has come from the wealth of experiences and challenges of each new project. Throughout my career, I’ve taken the chance to make even the littlest idea work into a new sculpture.