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Hiratsuka, Yuji (b. 1954)

Born in Osaka in 1954, Yuji Hiratsuka graduated from Tokyo Art Teacher's University in 1978. He received an M.A. from New Mexico State University in 1987 and an M.F.A. from Indiana University in 1990. The artist has spent the last decade in the United States, where he has had more than 40 one-man shows. His work suggests Ukiyo-e, brought up-to-date with Western clothes. Bright colors and whimsical depictions further characterize his distinctive style.

The prints are labor intensive works which start as etchings with drypoint, aquatint and softground printed on thin Kurotani paper. Hiratsuka makes continuous alterations to the plate, adding a series of colors. He then applies delicate hand tints to the back of each print and finishes with "chine colle" in which glue is applied to the Kurotani. The Kurotani is then backed with heavy rag paper, both passing through a press to bond the papers together. In effect, each print is an artist's proof or monoprint because of the continuous plate alterations and hand finishing. Editions are small: never more than 50 in number.

Yuji Hiratsuka work is represented in numerous collections including: Tokyo Central Museum, New York Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Library of Congress, The British Museum and the Achenback Foundation for Graphic Arts, San Francisco.