John Yoyogi Fortes

Artist’s Statement

My work is about self-examination. I draw inspiration from many sources, but I use humor, text and comic imagery as an invitation into my work.

My paintings begin spontaneously layering paint, but eventually a loose narrative is created driving the direction and choices I make. Text adds to the narrative playing off images. Sometimes words are made up and assigned meaning, often becoming commentary on the painting itself.

Ultimately I’m interested in seeing how my ideas manifest on canvas.

Born in a taxi on Yoyogi Street in Tokyo, Japan, John Yoyogi Fortes is a Northern California painter.

His paintings have been exhibited in California, Nevada, Chicago, New York, Hawaii, Venezuela, Japan and Norway, and are held in numerous private collections, as well as, the Asian American Art Centre in New York, the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno and the Triton Museum of Art and Crocker Art Museum in California.

Fortes has received grants from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and the California Arts Council. In 2004 John was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant.

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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.