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"Tamotsu Resting - A Privileged View" by Frank Costantino

Mt Ida tribute

Sketch of Tamotsu by Frank Costantino

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In Memoriam

Tamotsu Yamamoto

28 January 1946 - 2 December 2012

Tamotsu Yamamoto – ‘Tommy’ of Boston MA, died Sunday December 2, 2012, at The Stanley R. Tippett Home in Needham, MA after a brief battle with cancer. Born in Kyoto, Japan on January 28, 1946, to Qh & Koman Yamamoto. Tommy is survived by an extended family throughout the world.

Tamotsu came to the USA in 1971, from Kyoto, Japan after receiving a degree in Fine Arts from Kyoto City University. He settled in Boston, and in 1972 began studies at the then Boston Architectural Center, to develop his drawing skills for an occupation as an illustrator, which he began during the 70’s.

Since 1984, he became one of the first charter members of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI), having served as its Treasurer, Vice- President, and in 1996 as President, during which tenure he hosted the Society’s 11th annual international conference in Boston and at Harvard. He was also a President Emeritus of the Society, advising its Boards about managing and improving the many affairs of the world’s largest organization of its kind.

Tamotsu has served as ASAI’s International Coordinator since 1986, arranging for active contacts with his native Japan and other Asian countries, culminating in 2011, with the Society’s 26th international conference in Tokyo.

He also enjoyed a lengthy teaching career, having taught at the Boston Architectural College, Chamberlain School of Design, Suffolk University, and for the past 15 years as tenured Professor of Interior Design at Mount Ida College. At Mount Ida, he was instrumental in bringing the ASAI annual exhibitions, lectures, and events to the college over the years.

His pen & ink, or pencil, or watercolor, illustration and perspective work was highly regarded by his numerous Boston clients, and he enjoyed a very successful career as an illustrator. His commissioned illustrations or his own inventive drawings were accepted for exhibition in many ASAI shows, and also appeared in the Society’s catalogues, as well as other professional publications.

Tamotsu always considered himself and artist and image-maker first, but also brought these sensibilities to great effect in his illustration work, and effectively conveyed these skills to his many students over the decades.

Frank M Costantino, Co-Founder American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI)

Family and friends at service


Some thoughts about Tamotsu...

From the time Dad told us that Tamotsu was sick, through his rather quick decline and ultimate passing, I must honestly say that the sadness I felt took me slightly by surprise. This was a man that I did not know well, nor interacted with any more than once or twice every couple of years. So, I analyzed my feelings in more depth and I felt they were worth sharing.

Tamotsu made an impression on me at an early age. There was something..."exquisitely unique" about him, as though you were meeting a character from a comic book on their day off. And like a character, his presence was pure; the only emotion I can conjure when I think back, as far as I can remember, to any encounters I had with him, is one of comfort. I imagine this is because he retained a child-like curiosity and child-like sincerity that put me at ease. I remember showing him magic tricks I learned, or as I got older, talking about design school.
Always there was a focus and sincerity that I appreciated. In other words, there was not a patronizing quality to our interactions, which is more common when a child interacts with an adult. I suspect this was also what made him a great teacher.

…And with his generosity of spirit and Dad's willingness to bring his friends into the lives of his family, I benefitted from being "imprinted" at an early age with the notion that friendship and family are about connections that are more than obligatory, that ideally, they are by choice, with no specific material characteristic required. Moreover, I have come to realize how having "family" outside the bounds of my specific culture and my specific lifestyle actually make me feel more "normal", not less.

…I realize now that our friend Tamotsu played an important role in enabling me to have this outlook on life. I believe the "impression" he made was an influence of the right kind, at the right time. An influence credited to a special person, but more practically, to a special friendship between two men, one we got to share in.

As we move forward with our lives, let's keep in mind the beauty of friendship; that it can help shape our lives, the lives of our children, and that the more unique it is, the more the outward similarities differ, the more we have opportunity to see that the base connections we can make with other human beings: similarities of kindness, of spirit, of trust, of passion for life and study, are what matter most.

To my Dad and his friend, you have provided a stellar example. It is sad for me to see that example extinguished, but take pride in the fact that it has been set.

With love,
Cory (Costantino)
December 11, 2012

Mt Ida tribute

Floral tribute from the Japanese Architectural Renderers Association

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