A quiet, sophisticated nostalgia depicting characters in the constantly changing motions of life
Milt Kobayashi, third generation Japanese-American was born New York City, relocating to Los Angeles early in his childhood. He began his working career as an illustrator, however he found his work, which was editorial in its nature, did not fit the Los Angeles commercial art market. After a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art his artistic career was permanently changed, after he saw Velazquez’s portrait Juan de Paraja. This singular moment catalysed everything for Kobayashi and through this, developed his signature style.
Through an in-depth study of western artists such as Valazquez and Whistler, Kobayashi became aware of Japanese art, in particular “the Japanese floating world of Edo”. He began studying the 16th and 17th century Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock print masters Hokasai, Sharaku and Utamaro. Ukiyo-e is defined as “pictures of the floating world,” depicting characters in the constantly changing motions of life. The whole perspective of Japanese art allured him, the patterns, colour harmonies, use of negative space and primarily, composition and design.
Kobayashi's work has appeared in Forbes, Fortune and Reader’s Digest magazines. In September of 1997, Kobayashi was a featured guest artist at the Artist of America show in Denver, CO.