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Tetsuya Kato


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  • Themes based on the artist’s six-month experience in the inner-Gobi desert (stars, sand, far afar).
  • Japanese/oriental aesthetics (serenity, Qi, nature).
  • Spiritual elements (inner cosmos, fire, wonder of a child).
  • Ideas and technical developments based on the artist’s scientific research background (crystal growth, new material application, modular construction).


Part 1  Light  
STARS on EARTH is what my art is. This is about inner stargazing, where the sublime part of the human mind, the stars, is awakened and the mystery beyond our seeing is glimpsed like a shimmer of water in darkness.  My theme is to kindle this ecstasy through the use of Light by creating a moment of wonder of a child gazing upon the stars for the first time.  

I was born and raised in Japan, where I became an electronic engineer and scientist.  There, I also studied Suibokuga (a school of painting connected to Taoism and Buddhism) and eastern philosophy, which brought to my current work the stillness of Zen gardens along with two critical illuminations; universal Life runs through everything, and Art and Philosophy are one.  Yet, art is also related to science in the sense that science is about seeing into the vast darkness of chaos in search of order.  Art, science, and eastern philosophy thus congealed into an amalgam.  My scientific career also exposed me to remote marvels of the earth, where I forged my artistic inspirations.  In fact, I was awakened to Light under the star-fired skies of the Gobi desert during a scientific expedition.  

My work is also about exploration of innovative use of Light, where it is being mixed, split, or led through tortuous paths. This is achieved by such effects as multiple reflection and/or diffraction realised by combining a range of materials such as crystals grown by myself, glass, various metals, concrete, LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), etc.  Scientific ideas are thus at the core of my work.    

The fourth element to my work is our own primordial essence, which may be glimpsed in Neolithic arts such as cave paintings.  There is something inherent in Light that connects us directly to this mysterious primordial essence buried in our subconscious – it is this fleshly nature of Light that I explore.  This connection to the primordial is also a return that brings us back to the stars - awakening of which within is my artist mission.  

Find your star before it burns out.


(depending on your software, the Chinese characters in the parenthesis may not correctly display).

My artistic inspirations are rooted to my Suibokuga (a school of ink painting originating in China, which is connected to Zen Buddhism and other ancient Chinese thoughts) practice under two masters as well as exposures to remote areas of the world during my scientific expeditions (Gobi desert, Chinese Silk Road, Atacama desert, Amazon jungle, Hokaidou, Japan). My very stringent Japanese Suibokuga masters (who then were in their eighties) instilled me something that I can not describe as they taught me how to "see" and "listen". They also made clear that every line and dot must be ablaze with the "fire of life"….the essence of art in this discipline. Cultivating this fire and focus through meditation was at the core of all this practice. Naturally, my work reflects Japanese aesthetics (serenity (seijaku, 静寂), mysterious profundity (yugen, 幽玄), asymmetry & irregularity (fukinsei, 不均整), quiet and simple beauty (wabi, 詫び), etc). In this sense, my ideas are fundamentally spiritual. The classics in both music and visual arts were also my teachers (to name a few, Rachimaninov, Bach, Takemitsu, Jazz musicians from the 60s, Sessu, Taikan, Gyokudou, etc) …. they are collectively a forgotten fountain of knowledge and imaginations! Using these ideas, I am particularly interested in creating interior spaces, such as bars and lobbies, that spark people to connect with mysteries from far afar realms….stars on earth (for more details, please refer to the "Artist's statement").
Although my list of shows only starts in 2004, I have been an invited artist at two international level shows, namely the IIDEX and Art Expo, the largest art show in N. America. Both N. America and Tokyo as my work bases.

SHOWS   Materials Matters (Toronto, 2004), PRAXIS (Toronto, 2004), Parkdale art show (juried)(Toronto, 2005), Candela light show (juried)(Ottawa, 2006), a duo show with Oreste Tataryn at Coldwater gallery (Coldwater, Canada, 2007), Invited artist at The Society for Arts and Ideas (Toronto, 2007), Invited artist at IIDEX/NEOCOM (Toronto, 2007), Arta Gallery (Toronto, 2007), Selected artist at the Royal Botanical Gardens (Oakville, Canada, 2008), Candela light show III (juried)(Ottawa, 2008), WASHINGTON DC SCULPTORS GROUP (juried)(2008), Invited featured artist at the Toronto Art Expo (2009), Art-2009 at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre, Divine Decadence (a high end boutique in Yorkville, Toronto) (Oct, 2009).

INFORMAL ART TRAINING   Zen practice (1982-97), Suibokuga (ink painting) practice (1999), Exposures to remote areas of the world (Gobi desert, Chinese Silk Road, Atacama desert, Amazon jungle, Hokaidou, Japan)(1990-97).

SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION  Ph.D. candidate, University of Toronto (2000 - 2002, withdrawn), M.Sc. Geosciences, Queen's University (1997), M.Sc. Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University (1995), B. ENG. Electronics, Nihon University, Tokyo. (1985).