#204 カリフォルニアのエージング＆シーニックペインターライフ Aging & Scenic Painter life in California
Susumu Kurogane 黒金進
Title: Aging & Scenic Painter life in California
Susumu Kurogane is a professional special effects painter who makes various forms in the Disney World theme parks look like the real thing.
What do you say when people ask you what you like to do in California or what you are famous for?
Surfing, beaches, national parks, nature, and theme parks are some of them. I am currently working as an Aging & Grainer and Scenic Painter at the world famous Disneyland Resort, one of those theme parks. This is a special painting called scenic paint, which is used to paint sculptures such as theme parks to look like real natural objects, or to make buildings look old.
I first learned about the world of scenic painting in 2000 when I was living in Japan and working as a part-time painter at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan, which was under construction. After that, I worked at Tokyo Disney Sea, Fujikyu Highland, and various theme restaurants and stores. In 2004, after moving to the U.S., I worked for several scenic painting companies and worked as a subcontract painter for Disney. I then applied & interviewed for Disney's aging painter position and joined the company in 2008. I currently do maintenance and rehab (renovation) painting in the parks, but I have also worked on projects for new attractions.
I have always loved drawing and illustrating, so I am grateful to still be able to do this job. I have experienced the cultural differences between our two countries through this special painting job in Japan and the United States. In the U.S., I have seen a wide variety of people with different personalities and work qualities, including those who are lazy and careless about their work, those who are serious, and those who are meticulous. As I worked and lived in this American culture, I began to develop a sense of myself as a Japanese person. I also developed a strong interest in Japanese history, traditional culture, art, and religion (Shinto, Buddhism, Zen, etc.), which I had little interest in before, and began to read and research them.
I learned about the advantages and disadvantages of Japanese culture only after I left Japan, and I also learned the importance and fun of comparative experiences in America, which also has its advantages and disadvantages. One of my favorite things about the American culture is that when I was painting at the barricades in the park during the park opening, I would hear a presence behind me and turn around to see a visitor observing my painting or asking me a question, and they would engage me in conversation about what they were interested in. The most gratifying part is when they say, "Thank you for painting and maintaining the park so beautifully!” I am always happy when they say, "Thank you!” I think it is a great culture because American people often say thank you.
I have mainly focused on theme park work, but recently I have developed a desire to do private painting work as well, and for the past two years I have been doing scenic, repair, and painting for private homes and art directing for a modeling company in the same line of work, while doing my day job. The personal work is hard but rewarding because I get to hear directly from house owners, clients, and others about good evaluations and corrections.
I am able to continue to do the work I love because of the good relationships I have with many people. If more and more people take advantage of opportunities and good fortune to pursue what they love to do and work, it will make for a more enjoyable society. I will continue to challenge myself to do what I love and to try new things.