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Hisashi Otsuka

Hisashi Otsuka was born and raised by an artistically inclined family and it was not long before his parents encouraged his own innate talents. At a young age he became an apprentice to Taeko Jo, one of the Japan’s foremost kimono designers. However, as in accordance with the Bushido code which specifies all levels of training in Japan, he first had to learn service, duty and discipline. He began his time with Taeko Jo cleaning brushes and cooking, and it was three years before he cut a single piece of cloth or painted at all. After eight years with Taeko Jo, Otsuka received the highest compliment when his master bought one of his own pieces of work.

While studying under the Bushido code, Otsuka was also taught the importance of independence and esthetic sensitivity, although he found these tenets in opposition with contemporary Japanese aesthetics. As his peers were perfection traditional forms of art, Otsuka was learning to embellish the classical accomplishments and explore them more deeply. However, it is unlikely he would have truly been able to do that in Japan, so he relocated to the United States. It is the artistic freedom he encountered in the USA combined with the succeeding years of growth and development that results in the remarkable artwork Otsuka creates.

A great deal of his appeal, in fact, is the juxtaposition of the traditional and the contemporary, of his own heritage and the flowing hair, unusual kimono designs, and bright colors, of the East and the West. Otsuka’s contemporary art deco creations often returning to Oriental themes while exploring modern concerns; his skill in handling this unlikely pairing is what makes his creations such valuable collectable pieces.