Katsu Nakajima


Katsu Nakajima is Japanese, and he currently resides in Chiba Prefecture of Japan. He studied and graduated from Doshisha University of Kyoto in order to become a chemical engineer. But upon his graduation he veered away from a career in engineering to enter the world of advertising. This was because he became convinced for the first time in his life, in the latter half of his student days, that he was more interested in the arts than the sciences.

However, instead of entering the world of fine art, he dived headlong into the commercial world of creative advertising. He devoted himself to the job of designer and art director for around 30 years, during which time he was awarded the silver medal in the International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno of the Czech Republic, making a name for himself in the advertising industry.

He began painting watercolors around 2006, and oil painting in the summer of 2007. He resolved to immerse himself in the world of fine art the following year, and simultaneously began studying drawing from scratch. In describing his first experience with oil paints, he said, “I felt completely at home with the paints, almost as if I’d been painting with them for a long time.” The first landscape he painted around this time won an award in a competition in Japan, and he went on to win a total of three awards (including two portraits) that same year. He found this very encouraging, and says the experience paved the way to his current status.


His works include still-life paintings, but they can be divided mainly into landscapes and portraits. His landscape paintings appear to depict scenes exactly as he sees them, based on a simple, realistic style. By comparison, many of his portraits of recent years use gold leaf, depicting loosely structured scenes from dramas that tell allegories or other stories. In that sense, there seems to be a major difference in his landscapes and portraits. In regard to this, he says, “In many of my portraits, especially recently, I have been using a lot of gold leaf. But the moment I visualize a gold leaf background, the image I have in my mind slowly separates itself from reality. Then I reach out to grasp something from the undulations of my chaotic imagination, which gradually closes in. That’s how I think I come up with my motifs.”

“It feels like the glimmer created by the gold leaf drags me into the world of fantasy, as if it were a thin layer of flowing narcotics. But I also feel that my world of fantasy lacks any prevailing context. On the other hand, I feel no such thing toward landscape paintings. I paint them instinctively. However, even though my landscapes and portraits are based on different mindsets, they are probably the same in what I am striving to aim for in the distant future.”

He uses gold leaf in his portraits, not only for visual impact, but it is also obvious that it forms the core of his imagination.

“In the end, we probably have no choice but to continue our drifting and searching within this chaos, just like a lot of other artists. “D'où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?” painted by Gauguin was a depiction of the prevailing context on which our creativity is based, and I believe it is a concept shared by many artists,” he stated in the end.



Engineering Faculty graduation


2015 The International ARC Salon Competition (AMERICA)-

The Figurative Category portrait -The Third Place Prize Award

The Figurative Category portrait -Honorable Mention

The Landscape Category -Honorable Mention

2014 NITTEN Competition (JAPAN) -Specialty Award

2014 LST International Landscape Painting Competition(AMERICA)-The 3rd Place Award

2013 The SONPO JAPAN Art Award Exhibit Competition (JAPAN) - Selected prize

2008 37th The Current Landscape Competition(JAPAN)- Scenic Beauty Prize Award

2008 4th The world painting Grand Prize Competition (JAPAN)- Matsuda Award

2008 2nd The ArtCenter Memorial Picture Competition(JAPAN) - Silver Award


●Personal Exhibition (Kintetsu, Tokyu, Odakyu, Tobu, Matsuzakaya, each Art Gallery etc.)