David Kuraoka

David Kuraoka

A harmony of process and material

David Kuraoka, an American ceramic artist, born and raised on the island of Kauaʻi, left Hawaiʻi to attend San Jose State University where he earned his BA in 1970 and an MA in 1971. He then transitioned to a career in teaching at San Jose City College, and later as Professor of Art at San Francisco State Unversity, and served as head of its ceramics department. At the young age of 35, Kuraoka was named a “Living Treasure of Hawaiʻi.” Now retired, Kuraoka maintains studios in San Francisco and on Kauaʻi.

Kuraoka is known for large ceramic pieces first created on the potterʻs wheel, then which he alters his clay pieces by hand. Burnishing and with the use of rock salt and copper carbonate, he then fires them in an open fire pit, reminiscent of the American Indian method of firing which results in the piecesʻ direct contact with the smoke and flame of the fire pit. His mastery of the process results in a warm, smoky, swirling design.

Kuraoka also creates more sculptural ceramic pieces, replicating them in bronze, then colored with patinas.

Kuraokaʻs artistry may be found in many private individual and corporate collections and museums all over the world, including the Rotterdam Modern Museum of Art and the Tokyo Metropolitan Tein Art Museum. Locally, his work may be found at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Kauaʻi Museum. Nationally, his work may be found at the College of San Mateo, Utah State University, and the White House Art Collection in Washington, D.C.