James Hiroshi Suzuki was born in Yokohama, Japan in 1933. He received private art lessons under the instruction of Yoshio Markino. who had come to America in the late 19th century, and who then lived decades in London, before returning to Japan at the start of W.W.II.
Markino encouraged Suzuki to travel to America. James arrived on the West Coast and visited Los Angeles and San Francisco, before heading to Maine. He wanted to isolate himself from too many Japanese, and wanted to live and experience America on his own. He studied at the Portland School of Fine Arts in Maine, and in 1953 won a scholarship to the Corcoran School of Art, in Washington D.C.
He then moved to New York City, and in 1958 won a Whitney Opportunity Fellowship. That same year, he participated in an important exhibition organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, called "Contemporary Painters of Japanese Origin in America-1958", and exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art. By this time Suzuki had become friends with the Abstract Expressionist artists making waves in the art world - artists such as Kenzo Okada, Kline, de Kooning, Kanemitsu, Hasegawa, and Jackson Pollack. He exhibited at important galleries in New York, and participated in several museum shows, many of which traveled.
Later in his career he exhibited internationally as well. Moving back to California in the early 1960's, Suzuki began a teaching career at University of California, Berkeley, with David Hockney, and then at the California College of Arts and Crafts from 1964-1965.
In 1972, Suzuki began to teach at California State University in Sacramento, before retiring and moving back to Japan. Some of his early abstracts are lyrical, reflecting the traditional Japanese art. Others seem more Abstract Impressionist, done with rapidly brushed calligraphic strokes. He has worked in all media, often using words to solidify his message. He is socially and politically conscious, and this is reflected in some of his later works.
Crocker Museum, Sacramento
National Museum of Modern Art, Japan
Rockefeller Institute, New York
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, CT