Akio Takamori (1950 – January 11, 2017) was a Japanese-American ceramic sculptor and was a faculty member at the University of Washington.

Akio Takamori’s evolution as an artist began as he worked with Ferguson to break free of the constraints of industrial pottery and find new ways to express himself in clay. Since those first years at the Kansas City Art Institute his work has changed greatly, but it has always been figurative, based on the human body and expressive of human emotion and sensuality.

In the 1980s, Takamori worked innovatively with the vessel form and its structure, creating flat envelope shaped pots formed from slabs. Once the ceramic piece was finished, he would paint onto the surface adding details of the figures that he was representing. These figures often explored human relationships. His work in this format lasted about ten years.

In the mid-1990s a visit to the European Ceramic Work Center in The Netherlands resulted in a shift from vessels back to an early interest in sculpture and the figure. Takamori created groupings of standing figural sculptures. The figures portray historical characters, contemporary society and rural villagers recalled from the artist’s childhood in Japan.

Most of Akio Takamori’s work has been strongly influenced by his Japanese heritage. He has translated traditional Japanese prints into three-dimensional porcelain sculptures, he recreated his hometown in Japan from memory using clay, and he has translated Peter Bruegel’s paintings into sculptures of Japanese people.

Akio Takamori collaborated with Master Printer Mike Sims, of The Lawrence Lithography Workshop, to create a series of prints that combine digital images of his ceramic sculptures with more traditional lithography printing techniques.


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