CCT: AIPS profile - J.Kaneko

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Jun Kaneko

{Head - 2}
Untitled Heads
hand built clay and glazed sculptures on steel bases
Great Path Academy, Manchester Community College, Manchester
installed in 2010
{Head - 1}
The sculptural forms represent knowledge, interaction and communication which are all significant building blocks of education.  This work applies itself to issues of scale and the perspective/movement of the viewer with relation to the piece.
These Untitled Head sculptures are noted to be engaging, useful for way-finding and place identification.  Their visual energy creates a great focal point in the space.  The key to a successful project is to develop the most positive spacial attitude between the artwork, location and viewer.  Kaneko's goal was to create artwork that contributes positive energy to the design and identity of Great Path Academy and that engages the endeavors and imaginations of the students and faculty. 
The artwork installation acknowledges pedestrian movement in and outside the building from various levels of the vertical architecture and perspectives.  Movement and activity are articulated in energetic and vibrant patterns on sculptural forms that emerge from the hues of the school's culture, geography adn energy.  Their composition equally invites gathering and guides the flow of pedestrian traffic through the lobby and balcony areas effectively from both distant and intimate proximities and optimizes sight lines down any connecting halls, sidewalks and varied surrounding elevations. 
terrazzo floor
Manchester Community College
Learning Resource Center


The vision for the Manchester Community College commission involves using simple elements: stripes, circles, squares, polka dots and triangles, in a rhythmic pattern.  The design is shaped from creative concepts and the belief that the surrounding environment is an active element of the artwork.  The building’s architecture, the bold white pillars, the ascending arc of the central stair, the circular space itself and people’s movement through the lobby and mezzanine areas are acknowledged in the design to achieve an aesthetic balance and positive energy.


The fifty-four foot diameter artwork is rendered in eight custom created colors of 3/8” thick epoxy terrazzo with glass and synthetic glass aggregate.  Three different widths of white alloy of zinc divider strips were prefabricated onto fourteen wire mesh sections assembled on site for the various colors to be installed.  It is sealed and polished to a high gloss to emphasize the bright and vibrant color scheme. 

ceramic tile mural
University of Connecticut, Storrs
Biology & Physics building lobby


The ceramic mural created by Jun Kaneko creates a dramatic backdrop in the lobby of the Biology and Physics Building.  The mural extends 72 feet in height, covers over 1,750 square feet, and involves nearly 1,000 hand painted ceramic tiles. 

Kaneko’s command of materials allows him to approach clay in a painterly way, and his compositions embrace a stunning array of patterns, textures, and colors.  This project displays similarities that occur in the discovery process for both artists and scientists, from the intricate development to the finished product, from a small element to something monumental. 

Front Line (image pending)
terrazzo florr
University of Connecticut, Storrs
Burton Family Football Complex lobby
  {JK eli}
hand built clay, glazed dango's and tile mural
Eli Whitney Technical High School, Hamden

Passage - Artists Statement


Nothing exists alone. All objects exist in balance or contrast with one another and space is a primary element of their relationship. Static objects are dynamic in their relationship to their environment of changing light and shadow, seasons and peoples focused or mingling movement. Academic, social, and community activities will alternately heavily populate and conceal the site while quiet intervals completely open it up. The artwork needs to balance and cooperate with these disparate animations of the site.


Shakkei, an important concept in Japanese garden design, means borrowed scenery and is the principle of "incorporating background landscape into the composition. To create a masterful garden shakkei challenges the designers concept to go beyond its borders and incorporate distant, neighboring, upward and downward views and features to and from the site which I will employ in my design concept for Passage.


This unique site was an interesting visual challenge that invited me to explore diversity and unity within the schools cultural heritages and multifaceted relationships as a community. The Dangos are oriented in a formal linear composition to unify the sculptures into a singular visual experience that varies in their relationship to one another as you either pass, enter or exit the lobby and flows with pedestrian traffic. The Dangos ovoid volume naturally invites viewers in close proximity to explore the full perimeter of each sculpture in its unique glazing composition and palate.


The site specific commission culminates in a broad predominantly black and white tile wall oriented perpendicular to the line of Dangos.. Its large tiles are glazed in harmonious patterns and composed to create larger visual impressions in groups or to individually punctuate those rhythms. Interspersed color and the collective patterns of the tiles actively carry the eye across the surface to discover the ever changing possibilities of visual combinations in the design. The hand built and glazed ceramic wall and Dangos surfaces are reflected in the covered walkway paving and lobby floor design with a bold basket weave pattern expressed in subtle natural tones.


The key to a successful project is to develop the most positive balance and contrast between the artwork, environment and viewer so a binding relationship unites these elements to form an inspiring place that people enjoy using and being within. The artwork is scaled and oriented to invite multiple sight lines and dynamically interact with horizontal pedestrian and vehicular movement and from various vertical perspectives.


I have been engaged in creating public art since 1981 and in that time realized over fifty commission and exhibitions. My strong awareness of architecture and its combination with art is a challenge that keeps me very excited about site specific art. Especially issues of scale and perspective, movement of the viewer with relation to the space and artwork and their relationships to each other. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with the project team to create unique and meaningful artwork for the Eli Whitney Technical High School.


Jun Kaneko

December, 2014