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Akio Takamori, currently residing in Seattle, was born in Nobeoka, Miyazaki, Japan in 1950. The artist’s work, often autobiographical, has focused in recent years on figurative sculpture. The forms he creates of villagers, school children, shopkeepers and infants have been modeled from memory. Drawing on his childhood in Japan, Takamori creates loose communities of figures that are made up of individual pieces with unique, carefully crafted identities.

Growing up in postwar Japan, Takamori experienced a mélange of cultural influences. The son of a dermatologist who ran a clinic located near a red light district, Takamori was exposed to a wide range of people from an early age. At home, his father’s extensive library of both art and medical texts became a fascination for Takamori, who relished everything from Picasso reproductions to anatomical charts.

Takamori’s interest in the arts persisted into early adulthood and upon his graduation from the University of Tokyo, he apprenticed to a master folk potter at Koishiwara, Kyushu. While learning the craft of industrial ceramics in a factory setting, he saw a traveling exhibition of contemporary ceramic art from Latin America, Canada, and the United States. Blown away by what he describes as the “antiauthoritarian” quality of the work, Takamori began to question his future as an industrial potter. When renowned American ceramist Ken Ferguson visited the pottery, the two had an immediate rapport and Ferguson encouraged Takamori go to the United States and study with him at the Kansas City Art Institute.

In 1974 Takamori made the move to the United States, receiving his B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute and later attending Alfred University in New York for his M.F.A.. After working as a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana, he moved to Seattle, Washington in 1993, where he took his current teaching position as associate professor of the ceramics department.

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 recent years the dramatic, overtly sexual imagery of the vessel forms of the 1980’s and early 90’s have given way to quieter, more contemplative sculptural works that reflect Takamori’s ever-evolving relationship to clay.


2011          The USA Ford Fellowship
2008          Neddy Artist Fellowship for Painting and Ceramics, Seattle, Washington
2006          Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant
                 Elected to the American Craft Council College of Fellows, New York
2003          Flintridge Foundation Awards for Visual Artists
2001          Virginia A. Groot Award
1996          Fellowship at Keramisch Werkcentrum, s’Hertogenbosch,
                 The Netherlands
1993          Fellowship at Keramisch Werkcentrum, s’Hertogenbosch,
                 The Netherlands


1976-78     MFA, New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University,
                 Alfred, New York
1974-76     BFA, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri
1972-74     Apprentice, Traditional Domestic Production Pottery, Koshiwara, Japan
1969-71     Musashino Art College, Tokyo, Japan

Museum Collections

Ariana Museum, Geneva, Switzerland
Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona
Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, Montana
The Arkansas Arts Center Decorative Arts Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Florida
Boise Art Museum, Boise, Idaho     
Carnegie Institute Art Museum, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia
Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, Canada
Hallmark Art Collection, Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri
Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas
Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
The Kinsey Institute, Bloomington, Indiana
Kruithuis Museum, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
Museum of Arts and Design, New York
The Museum of Ceramic Arts, Alfred, New York
Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Shigaraki, Japan
National Museum of History, Taipei, Republic of China
Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin
Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, Rhode Island
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington
Schein-Joesph International Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred, New York
Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Shigaraki, Japan
Spencer Museum of Art, Laurence, Kansas
Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Republic of China
Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2014     Akio Takamori, Harvey/Meadows Gallery, Aspen, Colorado
2013     Portraits Ordinaires, Ariana Museum, Geneva, Switzerland
            Akio Takamori, Collection Ateliers d’Art de France, Paris, France
            Lust, Red Star Studios, Kansas City,  Missouri
            Ground, James Harris Gallery, Seattle, Washington
2012     Equivalents, Kunstforum Solothurn, Solothurn, Switzerland
            People/Alphabet, Barry Friedman, Ltd., New York
2011     Boys,  James Harris Gallery, Seattle, Washington
2010     A Recent Survey, Harvey/Meadows Gallery, Aspen, Colorado
2009     Europeans, James Harris Gallery, Seattle, Washington
            Alice/Venus, Barry Friedman, Ltd., New York
            Figures, Witte Zaal, Sint-Lucas Beeldende Kunst, Gent, Belgium
2008     Figures, Harvey/Meadows Gallery, Aspen, Colorado
2007     New Work, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, California
            Figures in Clay, International Ceramic Studio, Kecskemet, Hungary
2006     The Laughing Monks, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington,
                    Seattle, Washington
            Innocence, Garth Clark Gallery, New York
2005     Between Clouds of Memory: Akio Takamori, a Mid-Career Survey, Arizona State
                    University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona
2004     Sleeping Figures, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, California
            New Work, Grover/Thurston Gallery, Seattle, Washington
2003     Omnipotent, Garth Clark Gallery, New York
2002     Others and Self, Grover/Thurston Gallery, Seattle, Washington
2001     Boat, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, California
2000     Ensemble, Grover/Thurston Gallery, Seattle, Washington
1999     New Work, Grover/Thurston Gallery, Seattle, Washington
1998     Artist in Residence, Robert Else Gallery, California State University, Sacramento,
            New Work, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, California
1997     New Work, European Ceramics Work Center, The Netherlands         
            New Work, Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1996     Tempe Arts Center, Tempe, Arizona
            Hiestand Galleries/Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
1995     Habitat/Shaw Gallery, Pontiac, Michigan
            Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1994     Garth Clark Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri
            Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1993     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1992     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
            Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia
1991     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1990     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1989     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
            Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York
1988     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1987     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
1986     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
            Esther Saks, Chicago, Illinois
1985     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1984     Garth Clark Gallery, New York
            The Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri
1983     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
1980     Himawari Gallery, Miyazaki, Japan