Beautiful People: Stone Clay Sculpture | TANAKA Kazuhiko

Tanaka Kazuhiko was born in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, and graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music with a major in Architectural Design. For more than forty years, he has been working as an architect in Tokyo.

TANAKA Kazuhiko's human figures charm his audiences by capturing the essence of everyday life or surrealistic scenes from our dreams. In addition to his architectural work, since he began his art work his creativity has continued to evolve both in style and stature. However, the core of his work has not changed, and that is his desire to express the beautiful moments in life and to engage us in those experiences. The faces of his figures are expressionless and their clothing neutral in order to elicit a personal narrative from each viewer. Most of his sculptures are miniature but, in contrast to his larger sculpture, the small figures are conceived in designs intended to suggest a larger, more powerful aerial space. This produces a sort of magic in Tanaka’s miniaturization of forms.

—FUKAI Keiko

Observation is very important in the execution of my work because careful observation allows me to confront and understand the materials I use as well as my own inner self as an artist.

People frequently ask me, “Why are you making figures, since you are an architect?” I also ask myself the same question. The answer is simple. Before I am an architect, I am a human being.ons. This is the way I create the forms of my sculptures.

Even though I am an architect I am not a big fan of large buildings. This also prompts people to ask me “Why?” The answer is the same. I am no more than a man, and my preferences in life depend on my nature, my tastes, and the way I am living.

I have learned that the remote ancestors of mammals that survived through the ages of the dinosaurs were often small, mouse-like creatures. Like our small ancestors I am searching for a way of life in this modern age where mega sized corporations and political powers are to me like dinosaurs. I do not want power, but only to make my own way, step by step. And I want to be a friend of small things – both creatures and objects. These things may explain why I am making small figural sculptures.

When I am walking in the city—not on business as an architect—just observing people walking, talking, and laughing—I realize these are the beautiful moments of their lives. These images inspire me to try to recreate them as soon as possible. Sometimes I am so absorbed I work till dawn.

The experiences of my childhood are for me treasures. So, I try to dig up these almost forgotten beautiful moments and shape them into images—almost like keeping a daily journal. Ultimately, I want to reflect those treasured moments in other people’s lives. And when I create good ones--those are blissful experiences for me.