Hiro Takeshita was born in Nagasaki, Japan in 1947. At an early age, he was interested in art, track and American culture. His images of America came from imported shows such as "I Love Lucy," "77 Sunset Strip," and "The Untouchables," and the extravagant movies of the 1950's-60's. He also listened to the sounds of doo wop and folk music. America seemed magical, boisterous, and lush, very appealing images to a boy born in postwar Japan.
In the early 1970's, Takeshita moved to Tokyo to study art at Ochanomizu Art School and fashion drawing at The Setsu Mode Seminar School. After that, he apprenticed at the Atelier Dori as a printmater. In Tokyo, Takeshita saw an exhibit of 1960's American Pop Art with artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Jim Dine, Jasper Johns. He liked their concept of using familiar objects as subjects and "supermarket" colors.
In 1977, Takeshita came to America, Los Angeles, California. There he met other like-minded Japanese artists and continued to work on his art. He landed his first group show in Cape Canaveral, Florida that next year. He moved to New York soon after. Here, his oil paintings and pastel drawings quickly took on the frenetic pace and landscape of the city. Takeshita's broad strokes and gifted handling of color show the influences of the French Impressionists painters Monet, Manet, Cezanne, but especially Matisse. He became fascinated with Abstract Expressionistic painters. Another influence was the 1960's Pop Art. A reviewer in 1984 defined his work as "Abstract Expressionistic Motion Painting" to describe his ability to capture an object's energy in its environment. His work included street lamps, subway stations, and objects from construction work sites. At that time, Takeshita had a studio in New York's infamous meat market district on West 14th Street, hence the inclusion of raw slabs of meat in his repertoire. In the late 80s, his work was displayed on the covers of “Home Economica,” a Japanese magazine, for an entire year.
Since the late 90s, Takeshita has experimented with an innovative approach to "kirigami," a traditional Japanese papercut technique. His subjects are contemporary images and everyday objects. His use of colors - sometimes vividly contrasted and sometimes subdued but always harmonious in line and space - is unique and striking. In 2001 he had the opportunity to show his work to Samuel Sachs, II, then director of the Frick Museum, who was so by the technique that he asked him to create the Christmas card for the museum.
In 2006, Hiro came full circle and brought his work home to Japan with an exhibit in Nagasaki entitled "Nagasaki: Beautiful City, Lovely People." From January to December 2006 his papercut work appeared on the streetcars that wound throughout the city. For this occasion Mr. Sachs, II wrote a letter to the citizens of Nagasaki reintroducing Takeshita and describing his art as a, “… unique blend of a keen Japanese sensibility with a visual acuity drawn from a life in the West” and “…an ever-hopeful view of a color-filled world where line and space create a
In 2009 and 2013, Hiro had one-man shows at the Hoboken Historical Museum for his papercut work, "Simple Beauty" and "Slice of Beauty on the Hudson," respectively.
In 2014, Hiro is part of a group show titled "Six & Three" at Jadite Galleries, 660 10th Avenue, New York City from December 5 - 16.