Hiro Yamagata

Nov 2, 2017

Internationally known among commercial-art enthusiasts for his pop-inspired faunal and floral imagery,Yamagatais best known in theU.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 theEiffelTower, 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.

Hiro Yamagata was born inShiga,Japanon 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 toTokyoand had part-time jobs in the advertisement field, where his talent was recognized.  In 1972, Hiro began attending L'Ecole Des Beaux Arts inParisand began to live his life through painting.

Yamagataescaped toParisin 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 inCaliforniathat specializes in selling undemanding middlebrow art in bulk through venues in shopping malls. Yamagatamoved toLos Angelesto oversee the selling of his art, eventually opening a studio inSouthern California.

In the recent past, Yamagatahas 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.

Yamagata was commissioned by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.  Yamagata created an outstanding sports series depicting each Olympic sport.  This was the first time that one artist had created paintings for all the sports of the Olympics.