The world’s a studio

Meet Daisuke Okamoto, an artist and entrepreneur whose pen-to-paper style is undergoing a digital transformation to bring his spontaneous creative visions to life.

Examine Daisuke Okamoto’s latest art, and there’s immediately a feeling that you’re looking at something dynamic in a state of transformation. Each drawing feels like a hybrid—at once complex yet simple, otherworldly yet real—and grounded in both the natural and digital worlds.

And that’s the space that Daisuke inhabits himself as a creator, born and raised in Tokyo and now living and working in Los Angeles. Inspired by comic books and American movies, he uses “intricate systems of penmanship,” bringing together thousands of lines and patterns to create drawings that explore the vibrant cycle of life.

You always find something new inside of my art. So it’s kind of like travel—like a journey.

Daisuke Okamoto

Daisuke has been drawing since he was five years old, encouraged by his father to explore the world through art. Recently, he discovered a new mode of exploration—a digital canvas for his work with the Microsoft Surface, which allows him to expand the bounds of his studio and bring his creative visions to life on an even larger scale.

It all began on a visit to the Microsoft Lounge in Culver City, a cultural space for exploring the intersections of technology, media, sports, music, art, and fashion. There, Daisuke was invited to create a larger-than-life mural using Surface Studio. The final product is a love letter to Los Angeles—a work of art that represents the diverse cultures and communities that make up SoCal.

During the process, he found that on the one hand, working digitally inspires spontaneity: “You can do in trains. You can do in the car or the café. You don’t need a studio anymore. You can work anywhere,” says Daisuke. At the same time, it offers the chance to go back, experiment, and perfect: “In the digital, you can play with a work and get used to it until you really love it.”

Artist Daisuke Okamoto wearing glasses and a blue shirt typing on a Microsoft Surface device. He is standing at a studio table in the middle of his artist’s studio where paintings, plants, framed artwork and artist supplies are seen in the background.

“It’s important to keep making art, to think about art—and our dreams—every day.”

- Daisuke Okamoto

In a sense, the city of Los Angeles isn’t just his home—it’s also his muse. “L.A. has a lot of street art and murals,” he notes. “The whole city is like a gallery.”

When Daisuke isn’t painting murals, he’s creating and displaying his work at Hive Art Gallery and Studios downtown or designing and selling apparel for Popkiller that melds Japanese and L.A. culture. During the pandemic, he collaborated with an art and toy company in Hong Kong called Arctong, developing a line of hand-drawn “toy art.”

Looking forward, Daisuke wants to use digital technology to push boundaries with his art and continue to create every single day.

Artist Daisuke Okamoto is wearing glasses and is sitting working on a Microsoft Surface device. Artist materials are seen on his desk in the background.

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