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Devon Tsuno’s Japanese-American heritage is the basis of his vibrant acrylic paintings, highlighting the native and non-native plants of Los Angeles. Species found along regional waterways and tributaries double as metaphors about invasiveness versus reclamation and restoration, gentrification paving over the fabric of a neighborhood. The ecosystems Tsuno presents could not exist without the luxury of wealth to maintain such environments— as certain species require immense levels of water. The question is posed, why are rare and foreign plants treasured and nurtured, while certain races are neither.
Tsuno explains a recent solo exhibition – “….focuses on the Topaz American concentration camp, stories written by incarcerated teenagers in the camp, and post-war influences that Japanese American gardeners have had on the Los Angeles landscape. This new body of work retraces my own family history and its strong connections to specific non-native flora planted in the LA landscape.”
Tsuno has exhibited extensively in the US and abroad at the Hammer Museum Venice Beach Biennial, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Current: LA Water Public Art Triennial, Candlewood Arts Festival, DENK Gallery, U.S. Embassy in New Zealand, and Gallery Lara in Tokyo. His work has been featured in Artillery Magazine, X-TRA Journal, and Notes on Looking. He received an MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2005 and a BFA from California State University Long Beach in 2003. Tsuno is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at California State University Dominguez Hills and founder/co-director of the CSUDH PRAXIS art engagement program.