2.21.2006

Ikko Tanaka : Background

A Master of Graphic Design Japanese designer Ikko Tanaka was born in Nara, Japan in 1930. The cities of Nara, Kyoto
and Osaka are in the Kansai, the part of Japan that is closest to the ancient cultural traditions. Nara is the religious center for Buddhism, Kyoto is the old artistic and imperial capital
and Osaka is a place of commerce and art patronage. Tanaka’s life’s work was the exquisite “…arranging and rearranging of aesthetic, craft, religious and naturalistic elements and
forms of the past to make images valid for the present.” (Calza, 25) Tanaka attended
art school at the Arts College of Kyoto in the historic and aristocratic imperial capital
of Kyoto, graduating in 1950. During his school years, he developed a love for theatre,
and was involved in both set design and makeup for various productions. Tanaka’s formative period, followed by his long immersion in the most ancient currents of Japanese culture
and art – specifically those associated with the Kansai—powerfully influenced the way he developed.Ikko Tanaka is the most important and influential Japanese designer of the current age. For the exhibition he himself made a representative selection of his works from the 1950s through to today.