99 years ago, the Hotel Pennsylvania made history, by opening it’s then regal doors to the public. Since then it’s made history several times over. Below are two pieces of original artwork from Yoichiro Yoda, a gentleman, who I have the pleasure of sitting down with, and discussing the Hotel, its rich history, and its possible fate. The Hotel Penn has always been a love of Yoichiro’s and inspired him to do paint portraits of it, on more than one occasion.
Want to know more about Yoichiro? Here is a little history of him taken from an interview from Yale University’s Radio WYBCX.
“Yoichiro Yoda was born in Kagawa, Japan in 1972. When he was 3 months old, he came to New York City where he has lived ever since. Yoichiro’s paintings are based on silent films, film noir, lost memories, and New York City history. Yoichiro received a Bachelors in Fine Arts degree from Tyler School of Art in 1995, and received his Masters in Fine Arts degree from Queens College in 1998.
Yoichiro prefers to use film sets from various films, real interiors of old 42nd Street theatres, spliced together with different time periods to create a reinterpreted version of history, as if to reclaim what we have once lost.
Growing up in New York City, Yoichiro has witnessed and documented the horrific demolition of historic theatres and old time businesses on 42nd Street. He has created in addition to his paintings, documentary films, “Last Days of 42nd Street”, “Last Days of Hotel Pennsylvania”, and “Last Days of Coney Island”.
In his paintings, Yoichiro feels it is important to make the backgrounds look as fake as possible, to get away from the normal everyday reality (which has become more phony and “set like’ during the last 20 years.
Yoichiro also has a number of “series” paintings, where he uses a single film, such as “The Shining” and “The Great Gatsby”. In these series paintings, Yoichiro has altered the backgrounds of the existing sets in the film and replaced them with sites that often appear in his paintings, like Hotel Pennsylvania, and Lynnewood Hall, an old decaying mansion of the Gilded Age near Tyler School of Art.
Most recently, Yoichiro was accepted to participate in the 2016 Setouchi Triennale, an arts festival in Kagawa Prefecture, Kagawa Japan, which began in 2010 as a way to revitalize, restore and bring back to life the islands of the Seto Inland Sea with art. Yoichiro’s project is to create a movie theatre based on several 42nd Street theatres (that no longer exist today) on Megi Jima, or Megi Island. He plans to paint the interiors with the names of all the historic theatres and businesses that were lost on 42nd Street on the theatre’s walls, then hang many 24” x 20” portrait paintings of various film stars, including Charlie Chaplin, Robert Ryan, Clara Bow, and Carey Mulligan. He also plans to screen “Last Days of 42nd Street”.”