Osamu Kobayashi recently returned to his hometown of Columbia, where he created “Middle of Nowhere” – his vibrant mural on the east-facing wall of 808 Lady St., commissioned by the Congaree Vista Guild and One Columbia for Arts and History.
Kobayashi attended local schools Springdale Elementary, Fulmer Middle and Airport High before moving to Greenville to attend the Governor’s School for the Arts. He went on to get his bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art. After moving to Brooklyn, Kobayashi began to make a name for himself as a nonobjective painter.
Currently a resident of Brooklyn, New York, Kobayashi has exhibited widely in the United States and abroad, including solo exhibitions at Underdonk Gallery in Brooklyn, AplusB Contemporary Art in Italy, and the 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia. He has participated in group exhibitions at the Lissone Contemporary Art Museum, Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery at Stony Brook University, Bronx River Art Center, and the Columbia Museum of Art. In 2013, Kobayashi was awarded the Hassam, Speicher, Betts, and Symons Purchase Fund from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Whenever I visit Columbia, the first place I go to is Camon Japanese Restaurant. My parents opened it a year after I was born, so I spent a lot of my childhood there playing in the back or helping out. Fish teriyaki and the specialty sushi roll, Camon II, are my favorites.
I often find myself at bars when with friends. However, because of an alcohol allergy, I don’t get to explore the drink menus that much. Seltzer with lime is good enough for me. I enjoy it with cheese fries from The Whig, burgers from Bourbon or fried mushrooms from Bar None.
The Columbia Museum of Art has been a regular destination of mine for a while now. 701 Center for Contemporary Art, Tapp’s Arts Center, and if ART Gallery have come onto my radar. Aside from the exhibitions, the art events at these venues are worth checking out.
As much as I enjoy music, I rarely listen to it at home or in my studio. My attention has to be solely on it; otherwise the sounds just blend into the background. Live performances are best because they allow me to focus. I’ve stumbled onto good shows at New Brookland Tavern and Hunter-Gatherer.
Palmetto Ping Pong Players, located in the largely abandoned Richland Fashion Mall, is a hidden gem. I used to play a good bit of table tennis in high school but only recently started to pick it back up. They are not open all the time, but their equipment is in good condition, and the setting is surreal.