Biography / Statement

  • Biography
  • Artist's Statement
Biography: Ako Lindley (1934 - 2012)
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There has been a long tradition of influence emanating from the Far East in Northwest art. Painters such as Mark Toby and Morris Graves were absorbed by Japanese aesthetics and Zen Buddhism. Painter Ako Lindley embodied that tradition in reverse. Born in Tokyo, Ako successfully melded her Japanese heritage with the Western art tradition. Like the Japanese Shin Hanga artists of the Ukiyoe revival, she was fascinated by Western concepts of perspective and verisimilitude, but was still grounded in the Japanese penchant for flattening pictorial space to accentuate its decorative integrity. Her paintings of barns in the Skagit Valley give these old structures an exotic flair missed by artists more familiar with them.

Ako Lindley earned her degree in art and graphic design from California State University at San Jose. Her early experiences working in the art department of International Paper Company and the Oakland Tribune provided a working discipline that served well in her subsequent and continuing pursuit of fine art.

Ako spent several years studying with noted Pacific Northwest landscape painter William E. Elston. During this time she was assigned the position of class and workshop monitor, and she managed many aspects of Mr. Elston's classes.

Ako Lindley was also actively involved in the World Seido Karate Organization for many years, and promoted to Shodan (first degree black belt) in 2007, at World Seido Karate Honbu, in New York City.

Ako Lindley passed away on July 24, 2012, after a long illness.
Artist's Statement: Painting a Legacy
I am a Japanese who works in Seattle and sees that valuable Japanese locales and landmarks, as well as the people who contributed to Japanese culture in the Northwest, are in danger of being forgotten.

At the same time, I am a person of the world, and have traveled widely. So my painting reflects this experience as well. World culture has become, by virtue of this experience, a part of my culture. And although I am by birth Japanese, the people that I have encountered have become my people. I have spent many years living in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and have recorded my impressions of places and people there.

Lending painterly expression to these scenes and subjects is my way of preserving their memory for future generations. My paintings are in oil, a medium which is archival and which will last for many centuries to come, whereas many other media are more transitory. I may not live for a hundred years, but my subjects deserve to live on.

Culture must be actively supported otherwise it is rapidly lost. Once lost it is gone forever. Our experience is transitory and fragile, but our expression lives on.

Ako Lindley