Masami Teraoka Biography

Masami Teraoka

Japanese American



Masami Teraoka, painter, printmaker, and lecturer, was born in Onomichi, Hiroshima-ken, Japan in 1936. He graduated in 1959 with a B.A. in aesthetics from Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan, and continued his education at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles receiving his B.F.A. and an M.F.A. degrees in 1968. 

Integrating reality with fantasy, humor with commentary, and history with the present became his working challenge. His early paintings focused on the melding of two vastly different cultures and the transformative influence of American commercialism on an ancient culture. Series such as McDonald's Hamburgers Invading Japan and 31 Flavors Invading Japan were two such themes.  In the 1980s, Teraoka worked in watercolor and lithography creating large scale imagery related to the AIDS epidemic. Since the late 1990s, he has been producing large-scale narrative work addressing social and political issues, especially the abuse of children by priests and other examples of hypocrisy in religious institutions.

Teraoka has been the subject of more than seventy solo exhibitions and he has been honored twice by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, and given two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work is represented in more than fifty public collections worldwide, including the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Scotland; the Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii; the Tate Modern, London, England; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.