It’s never easy to hear of someones passing. I awoke to an email this morning saying that illustrator Kazu Sano had passed away. I’m still in shock.
Kazu was my favorite illustration teacher when I attended the Academy of Art back in the late 80s. His teachings and his art still inspire me to this day.
Of all the teachers I had, Kazu was one of the only ones to not criticize my early use of the airbrush in my assignments.
In his class he would say to experiment with your media .. for example what if you used warm or hot water with your paints .. what would happen ? I was too young at the time to realize what he was saying … to think out of the box.. and to push the limits of what you could do. Years later, I still use his teachings not only in art but when collaborating with fellow artists and toy makers. Don’t just do solution A.
Just before my semester ended with him, my friend and I got up the courage to call him up and visit him at his studio. As nervous as we were he made us feel right at home. He showed us many of his originals while our jaws dropped to the floor. We saw his work area and the current art he was working on.
Just before we left my friend nudged me … I had brought a copy of the Return of the Jedi poster that Kazu had painted for him to sign. I took it out and asked if he could sign it .. thinking he would say no… but the gentleman he was he did so gladly. As he signed it he actually apologized that he could not give us a copy for free ! In fact he dug around and gave us a bunch of other posters and tear sheets he had on hand as gifts !
Over the years i would only run into Kazu a few more times .. and each time he would remember me and my artwork, and even know what I was doing currently in illustration… much to my amazement !
Thank you so much Kazu.