[ Narrative | Exhibitions | Awards | Teaching | Publications | Statement ]

Birthplace 1955 Tokyo, Japan
Education 1978 B.F.A., California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

Koji Takei was born in Tokyo in 1955. After graduating from high school, he came to the United States and entered California Institute of the Arts in Valencia in 1974.

Following graduation from CalArts in 1978 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, he worked as a graphic designer for Advertising Designers, Inc. in Los Angeles, specializing in corporate identities and annual reports. From 1982 to 1984, Koji served as Art Director for California Institute of the Arts designing, photographing and supervising graphics for all their publications.

In 1985, he and his partner Brian Gormley formed the design and marketing firm Gormley/Takei, Inc., specializing in graphic design, marketing, and event organizing. Clients included Fortune 500 companies, cities and governmental agencies, as well as major record companies.

After closing Gormley/Takei in 1991, Koji started his own design and commercial photography business. His specialties in design included corporate identities, annual reports, packaging, technical illustrations and diagrams. Agents in Los Angeles and San Francisco represented his photography, which included portrait photography, location photography, and photo-illustration.

He taught graphic design and photography at Otis Art Institute and California Institute of the Arts. He is currently on the faculty at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

Koji has received recognition for his work from various organizations in the graphics industry, including awards from New York Art Director's Club, American Institute of Graphic Arts, Los Angeles Art Director's Club, Communication Arts, and Society of Typographic Arts. His work has been published in Graphis Magazine, Print Magazine, Communication Arts, and various publications from Japan and South Korea.

In 1997, he was granted a United States Utility Patent for his invention, Last Squeeze, an inverted bottle holder/stand.

Koji's evolution through commercial art has led him to explore his creativity as a fine artist. He has been producing work since 1992 including drawings, paintings and various sculptures and assemblages. His work has been exhibited at the Laguna Art Museum/Laguna Beach, Doizaki Gallery/Los Angeles, Hunsaker/Schlesinger Gallery/Santa Monica, William Turner Gallery/Venice, Debra Owen Gallery/San Diego, and Robert Berman Gallery/Santa Monica. His work is currently represented by Robert Berman Gallery and Debra Owen Gallery.

From his studio in Santa Monica, Koji continues to pursue all of his multi-disciplinary arts.

Solo Exhibitions

2006 "New Works", Berman/Turner Projects, Santa Monica, CA
2004 Solo Exhibition "Mottosynthesis", Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2003 Solo Exhibition "Staying Afloat,” Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2001 Solo Exhibition "Tools of the Trade,” Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2000 Solo Exhibition "Recent Work,” William Turner Gallery, Venice, CA
1997 Solo Exhibition, William Turner Gallery, Venice, CA

Group Exhibitions
2006 “Omage”, Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2006    “Art of Design”, El Camino College, Los Angeles, CA
2002 Group Exhibition "A Thousand Clowns,” Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2002 Group Exhibition, Debra Owen Gallery, San Diego, CA
2000 Group Exhibition "Grace in Space,” College of the Canyons Gallery, Santa Clarita, CA
1995 Group Exhibition "Primarily Small Works,” Hunsaker/Schlesinger Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
1994 Group Exhibition "Shapes of Things to Come,” Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA
1994 Two-Man Exhibition "Musubitsuki,” Doizaki Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1988 Group Exhibition "AJA,” Doizaki Gallery, Los Angeles, CA


1987 Best of Show, Los Angeles Art Director's Club
1982 Award of Excellence, Communication Arts
1981 Award of Excellence, American Institute of Graphic Arts
1981 Award of Excellence, Los Angeles Art Director's Club
1981 Award of Excellence, New York Art Director's Club


2000- present Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA
1993-94 Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA
1984 California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

Work included in the following publications:

The Contemporary - Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Symbols and Trademarks of the World, Japan
Communication Arts, New York
Letterheads of the World, Japan
Graphis Magazine, Switzerland
Print Magazine, New York

Artist's Statement, 2004:

Peaceful fusion of polar opposites

Raised in Japan and educated in America, I see the positive and negative aspects found in both cultures. Tradition and innovation, control and spontaneity, conformity and uniqueness; these juxtaposed ideas, prevalent in both countries, also coexist inside of me.

My task has been simple: Import only the good, improve and export it back into reality like Honda and Sony do. That is what the Japanese have been doing for millenniums. As an expatriate I find it ironic to see this paradigm in my art. Like plants use photosynthesis to create oxygen, I use ”Mottosynthesis”, merging mottos from the two opposed cultures for my work.

--Koji Takei

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