Artists Stanley Bell and Takeo Hiromitsu join forces for ‘Word is Bond’ in Carbondale |

Artists Stanley Bell and Takeo Hiromitsu join forces for ‘Word is Bond’ in Carbondale

Carla Jean Whitley
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
"For Some Reason," a collaborative painting by Takeo Hiromitsu and Stanley Bell


Word Is Bond: A Collaborative Exhibition with Stanley Bell & Takeo Hiromitsu

Friday, 6-8 p.m. Carbondale artists Stanley Bell and Takeo Hiromitsu collaborated on a series of paintings, which will be shown alongside several individual pieces. The exhibit will remain on display through April 27.

The Launchpad, 76 S. Fourth St., Carbondale | Free | 963-1680 |

On any given day, painter Takeo Hiromitsu might approach a canvas alone. He would take in the marks that appeared since his last visit — perhaps bold swaths of color, maybe collage elements. Hiromitsu would then respond, adding his own color or visual interpretation of his present mental state.

Stanley Bell would return to the canvas and react similarly. “No mark is a mistake,” he believes, and so erasing was off limits. It didn’t matter whether he liked the work he’d created or Hiromitsu’s additions. It was up to him to take the next steps in the creative process.

The result of this back-and-forth is “Word is Bond,” which opens tonight at The Launchpad’s R2 Gallery.

The pair of Carbondale artists exchanged canvases and ideas during a period of eight months, and they also contributed several individual works to the exhibit.

The idea for collaboration was born of their meeting at a live painting, graffiti-style event. Hiromitsu and Bell share a similar color palette, and there are some obvious parallels between their styles. They’re both sensitive to their environments and that fuels the art.

“I like to study energy you can’t see but that surrounds you,” Bell said. Hiromitsu described it as “that sort of intangible experience of life.”

But their approaches often differ, which added meaning to this process-oriented work.

“We’ll be approaching the large canvas and Stanley’s brush will be this big,” Hiromitsu said, spreading his thumb and forefinger several inches apart, “and mine will be like this,” he added, holding a pencil aloft. “I’ll come back the next day and be like, ‘Wow, I spent three hours on that and I can’t even see it.’”

Bell’s default is to dive in, while Hiromitsu is more likely to cover areas and ensure his space is tidy. He’s quick to say his partner also has the ability to be measured and tight. But when Hiromitsu would ask Bell to step into that mode, Bell’s creativity visibly shrank. Hiromitsu compared it to a hose being kinked to slow the flow of water.

As the show’s opening neared, the artists spent more time at the canvas together. Working alongside another artist was educational, Hiromitsu said. “It’s relearning how to be curious and open.”

The title “Word is Bond” plays on the conversation that occurs between two artists. It evokes a sort of handshake agreement. Each painting has layers to explore, and the artists hope their painted conversations become evident to viewers.

“You can see the conversation happening, floating to the surface,” Bell said. “It’s the coming together, and the conversation as we’re coming together.”

Being present with another person’s work required a different sort of focus.

Hiromitsu hopes viewers share the experience he gained through the process: “All I ever really want from people is for them to be present or curious.”