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 Masami Teraoka  (1936 - )

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Lived/Active: California/Hawaii / Japan      Known for: pop-oriental genre-views, prints

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Teraoka Masami is primarily known as Masami Teraoka

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Ad Code: 2
Masami Teraoka
from Auction House Records.
The Cloisters Venus and Pope's Workout
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Masami Teraoka is widely known for his watercolor paintings created in the style of Japanese woodblock prints.  His canvases display detailed images of traditional geisha and samurai placed in a modern context surrounded by popular American icons.  This contemporary artist was born in 1936 in the town of Onomichi, between Hiroshima and Osaka, Japan.  His mother came from a family of artists and his father was a talented musician who ran the family kimono fabric store.  After high school Teraoka studied Aesthetics at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan.  In 1961 he moved to Los Angeles, California to concentrate on his artistic career.  He enrolled in the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, and after seven years graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters degree.

Teraoka's style developed out of his interest in Japanese ukiyoe prints as well as the contemporary popular art of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.  The traditional woodblock print artists Katsushika Hokusai (1759-1849) and Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865) provided inspiration for Teraoka but he claims that his painting did not develop in Japan. Instead, he calls his art an American product.  His paintings incorporate elements of traditional Japanese portraiture with exclusively American images, flying hamburgers, condoms, a coke can, and sea creatures.

The turning point of Teraoka's career was in 1986 with the creation of a four-panel screen painting of a dying mother and child surrounded by a threatening sea.  This was part of a series of works having to do with AIDS. I t is a reflection of the emotions Teraoka experienced when a friends baby contracted the AIDS virus through a blood transfusion.  This work established him in the art community and communicated his concern with social issues of the time.  His compilations are commentaries on contemporary culture and the interaction between Japan and America.  He tackles issues of multiculturalism, gender, technology and communication.  Over the years his artwork has reflected the era in which it was created.  His early paintings dealt with issues of mass consumerism and the destruction of the environment, while his more recent work has a more gothic overtone and is painted with a darker palette on a grander scale.

He has exhibited his art all over the world and nationally at the Oakland Museum, California (1983); the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana (1991); the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, California (1997); and the Yale University Art Gallery, Connecticut (1998).

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