I’m like a director. I take a lot of time posing the hands so they’re not clenched or have too geometric a shape. Bend the wrist a little or it will be too straight and look like a log. Think of how dancers hold their hands in positions that give movement to the form. I want them placed gracefully.
The artwork of Milt Kobayashi blends together his diverse life experiences, heritage, and appreciation for great artists of the past. Although born in New York City, his early childhood was spent on the island of Oahu, Hawaii and later in California where he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
In 1977, Kobayashi returned to New York to work as an illustrator and often toured New York’s famous Metopolitan Museum of Art as well as the city’s many galleries. It was from the inspiration of artists such as Velasquez, Whistler, Chase, Sargent and several others that he found his particular use of color, pattern, and his compositional style. It was also from these western masters‘ use of negative space as seen in Japanese Edo, or „pictures of the floating world“, that Kobayashi was brought back to his Japanese-American heritage.
From dark, ethereal figures shadowed in the corners of cafes and bars, to bright, diverse, and more detailed figures at home and even in the ballet studio, Milt Kobabyshi’s style continues to evolve. His latest work has taken on a more relaxed feel with a diverse palette and figures that seem to have a greater sense of optimism to their color and attitude. The darkness of Kobayashi’s work from the 90’s has found its way into a new light, and so has transformed the entire ambiance of his work.
Internationally recognized, Kobayashi has been awarded the National Academy of Design’s Ranger Purchase Award as well as a Silver Medal from the Allied Arts Show in New York. He has been featured in publications ranging from American Art Collector to Forbes, Fortune, and Readers Digest.