Tim Okamura

Tim Okamura investigates identity, the urban environment, metaphor and cultural iconography through painting. By combining an essentially "realist" approach to the figure with collage, spray paint and mixed media, he juxtaposes the rawness and urgency of street art with academic ideals to create a visual language that acknowledges a traditional form of story-telling through portraiture, while infusing the work with resonant contemporary motifs.

Born in Edmonton (Canada), Okamura earned a BFA with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991. After graduating with an MFA in Illustration as Visual Journalism in 1993, Okamura moved to Brooklyn, where he continues to live and work.

A recipient of the 2004 Fellowship in Tim Okamura from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Tim Okamura was short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen's Picture Collection for a commissioned portrait of the Queen of England in 2006 and has been selected nine times to appear in the prestigious BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

In 2013, the University of North Carolina hosted a retrospective exhibition of his work that focused on nearly a decade of production. Okamura's work was also featured at the Art Director's Club in New York the same year, followed by a solo show at National Arts Club alongside the works of Romare Bearden in 2014. He received an invitation to The White House in 2015 to honor artists whose work addresses issues of social justice and received a letter of commendation from the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden. His work was included in a traveling exhibition by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in 2016 and most recently several of Okamura's works were featured prominently in the "Still I Rise" exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2020.

Tim Okamura has exhibited extensively in galleries throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Ecuador and Turkey and is part of both private and public collections, such as the permanent collections of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, the Jiménez Colón Museum, The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History at the University of North Carolina, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Toronto Congress Center and Standard Chartered Bank in London.

Available Works

Tim Okamura: Luminescence


Tim Okamura


Oil and acrylic on canvas

60 x 60 in | 152.4 x 152.4 cm

Tim Okamura: Blood, Sweat and Tears

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Tim Okamura


Oil on linen

32 x 26 in | 81.3 x 66 cm

Tim Okamura: The Parlor (Limited Edition)

The Parlor



Archival giclée print on 340g cotton rag paper

40 x 28 3/4 in | 101.6 x 73 cm

Edition of 50

Exhibitions & Art Fairs



Tega Akpokona, Adelaide Damoah, Mbali Dhlamini, Tagne William Njepe, Tim Okamura

18 Jun - 8 Aug 2020

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