Ben Sakoguchi Biography

Ben Sakoguchi




Painter and printmaker Ben Sakoguchi was born in San Bernardino, California, in 1938. While a young child, his family, of Japanese descent, was incarcerated at the Poston, Arizona internment camp during World War II, an experience that left a deep impression on Sakoguchi and influences his work to this day. 

Sakoguchi's formal higher educatio began at San Bernardino Valley College from 1956-'58. He then earned his BA (1960) and MFA (1964) at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1964 he obtained a position as an art instructor at Pasadena City College, where he taught until his reitrement in 1997. His work increasingly focused on American sociopolitical commentary, race, military actions, religion, and popular culture seen through a Surrealist lens, and continues to illustrate the clash of ideals and reality with the use of a color-saturated Pop Art style, borrowing from old advertising labels and other vintage ephemera. 

Throughout his career he has received several fellowships and accolades, including two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships (1980, 1995); grants from the J. Paul Getty Trust (1997), the California Arts Council (2003), and the Flintridge Foundation (2005); and inclusion in the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fund's 'Artist's at Giverny' program (1997). Sakoguchi has been involved in numerous group and solo exhibitions in university galleries, museums, and non-profits throughout the United States and abroad since the late 1960s, and continues to exhibit today. His most recent shows took place in 2023, with "Belief and Wordplay" (Ortuzar Projects, New York) and "Ben Sakoguchi: Oranges - Pancakes - Cartes Postales" (Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, Paris).

Learn more about the artist and find an extensive list of exhibtions on his website,