Hiro Yamagata is active/lives in California / Japan. Hiro Yamagata is known for pop-art commercial images, automobiles, lazar installation.
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Biography from the Archives of askART
The following information was submitted February 2006 by Norman Davies,
art scholar and book dealer from Torrance, California. His source is the book Hiro Yamagata Earthly Paradise, by Edward Leffingwell.
Biography from American Sport Art Museum and Archives
At the age of nineteen he left his home in Malbara, Japan near Kyoto,
and began his travels. First he went to Tokyo where he stayed for
five years and assisted a professor and worked in advertising as
an illustrator for Coca Cola and Automotive companies. Then he
went to Milan, and at age 24, arrived in Paris in 1972.
There he met many writers and musicians that had some influence on his
work, and he was introduced to the French Poet Jacques Prevert, whose
influence took shape in Yamagata's paintings.
Yamagata said: "Everything is put in the image". He does
not express interest in talking about art, has no art theory, and
doesn't want to have one. For him art is in the process of
trying to break the mold, not in the drawings or paintings themselves.
His travels also included Morocco, Greece, Turkey, and Algeria, and
then he moved to Los Angeles in 1978. He continues to travel, and
spends much time in Fiji.
Embroidered with imaginative narrative and detail, Yamagata's Los
Angeles paintings often specifically recall a Paris that still attracts
him, that recalls the years which for him remain the most exciting, the
most meaningful. In some of these paintings, the comic inversions
of Botero-like figures pilot automobiles from another period.
In 1987 he decided to reverse the scale of this intimate work by
presiding over the restoration and transubstantiation of the classic
automobile and using its body as his canvas. This was a painting
he could complete, literally enter, and drive away. At the time,
he had no idea that this vision of the ultimate Los Angeles cruising
machine would lead to others, and direct him towards making a group of
"paintings" for an exhibition that might in some ways eventually alter
the way art can be perceived.
Internationally known among commercial-art enthusiasts for his
pop-inspired faunal and floral imagery, Yamagata is best known in the
U.S. as the poster designer for the 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympic
Committees. He's also designed commemorative works for the Air
and Space Bicentennial, the U.S. Constitution's Bicentennial, the
Centennial Celebration of the Eiffel Tower, the Bicentennial of the
French Revolution - and painted Ronald Reagan's presidential portrait.
I n 1988, Hiro was commissioned by President Ronald Reagan to do a
painting as part of the one hundred year anniversary celebration of the
Statue of Liberty.
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Hiro Yamagata was born in Shiga, Japan on June 30, 1948. He was
first interested in painting in elementary school and took a special
art class every day after school and through high school with his art
teacher, a Japanese-style painter. After his graduation, he went
to Tokyo and had part-time jobs in the advertisement field, where his
talent was recognized. In 1972, Hiro began attending L'Ecole Des
Beaux Arts in Paris and began to live his life through painting.
Yamagata escaped to Paris in his early 20's, and met such persons as
John Cage and more notably Allen Ginsberg. He also painted sets
for Peter Brook. At the time, Hiro was perfecting a cartoony
illustrative painting style that was not particularly Japanese.
The style did so well that his work was picked up on by an outfit in
California that specializes in selling undemanding middlebrow art in
bulk through venues in shopping malls. Yamagata moved to Los
Angeles to oversee the selling of his art, eventually opening a studio
in Southern California.
In the recent past, Yamagata has explored a completely different aspect of art. In 1997-98, he set out to create Element,
a six-part series of environmental installations using theater lights,
holographic effects and lasers. Yamagata's desire was to
overwhelm the senses by transforming the "white cube" of the gallery
into a spatially infinite site where the micro merges with the macro
and the limits of the real are expended.
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