Tat Ito was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1978 and moved to California in 2001. Ito received a BFA in painting from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, and an MFA in painting from New York Academy of Art. He lives and works in Queens.

His use of “oil on water” as a metaphor for Japanese contemporary art and culture upon which the Western viewpoint is floating. This cultural experience is a symptom of the Japanese obedience to the Western cultural and artistic paragon. Like a skim of oil on water, its beautiful reflecting surface fascinates the viewers, however it never mixes with the substance underneath.

Ito conceptualizes his visual metaphor of a floating liquid ever-changing milieu of cultural ideas by making painting references to Japanese tradition and its conventions in a new hybridized form of the East meets the West. By using oil paint, the medium of the West, Ito further complicates this mix. Ito pushes the decorative aspect of art so that the semantics are less obvious. By doing so, he attempts to counter-emphasize the semantics of his paintings to make the context mysterious, and arousing audiences’ inquisitiveness. “In-between” disambiguaties an anxiety of being in a world of two unmixable substances.

Artist Statement

I was born in Nagoya, Japan. I received a BFA in painting from Academy of Art University, San Francisco, and an MFA in painting from New York Academy of Art.

My works consist of my childhood experience of Manga and Japanese comedy TV as well as influences of Brueghel, Bosch, other Northern Renaissance painters, Artists in ROCOCO era, Prussian miniatures, Kano and Rinpa school paintings of Edo era, Ukiyoe and many other old and/or contemporary masters of Eastern and Western art. In my work, I mix all of my influences and interests and shake them and blend them again and again (maybe one or two more times) to create a new hybrid realm and a space.

Related News
Summer Group Exhibition Opening Photos (August 7, 2012)
Cleon peterson ‘White Flag’ / Tat Ito ‘Memento Mori’ Opening Photos (May 26, 2011)
Summer Group Exhibition Opening Photos (August 17, 2010)
Tat Ito on the cover of New American Paintings (March 11, 2010)
‘From Kojiki to Modern Heroism’ and ‘Refuge’ Opening photos (February 19, 2010)
Summer Group Exhibition opening reception (August 19, 2009)