Milt Kobayashi – Artwork and Bio of the Japanese-American Painter

Milt Kobayashi

Milt Kobayashi is a Japanese-American painter best known for his quiet sophistication and pensive oil paintings. Born in New York City, Kobayashi’s early years were spent in Oahu, Hawaii, before moving to Los Angeles at the age of eight. After obtaining his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, he embarked on a career as an illustrator. However, it was during a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York that Kobayashi’s artistic direction changed. Kobayashi’s art has garnered recognition, including the National Academy of Design’s Ranger Purchase Award and the Allied Arts Silver Medal. His work has been featured in prestigious publications such as Forbes, Fortune, and Reader’s Digest. 

What Does Milt Kobayashi Paint About?

Milt Kobayashi paints people in contemplative moments, capturing a sense of introspection and meditation. His subjects, typically urban dwellers, are portrayed taking a break from their daily routines, lost in their thoughts. Kobayashi’s paintings evoke a sense of quiet sophistication and ethereal atmosphere. He pays great attention to the interplay of light, shadow, and color, creating a mood that is both introspective and captivating. Kobayashi’s compositions often feature carefully crafted negative spaces and a harmonious balance of tonal contrasts. Through his art, he explores themes of human connection, and the beauty found in ordinary moments of solitude.



Who Was Milt Kobayashi Influenced By?

Milt Kobayashi has been influenced by artists such as Diego Velázquez, James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, Edouard Vuillard, and the Japanese Ukiyo-e masters. Velázquez’s use of color and composition, Whistler’s tonal contrasts and negative space, Sargent’s portraiture skills, Vuillard’s interior scenes, and the Ukiyo-e masters’ patterns and color harmonies have all shaped Kobayashi’s artistic style.



What Art Movement Is Milt Kobayashi Associated With?

Milt Kobayashi is associated with the contemporary figurative painting art movement. While he draws inspiration from various art movements and masters of the past, his style and subject matter reflect a modern approach to figurative representation.



Milt Kobayashi Artwork

Milt Kobayashi has been honored with prestigious awards, including the National Academy of Design’s Ranger Purchased Award and the Allied Arts Silver Medal. His artwork has gained recognition and exposure through publications such as Forbes, Fortune, and Reader’s Digest magazines. Kobayashi’s talent has been showcased at the esteemed Artist of America show in Denver, CO. Additionally, he has enjoyed numerous successful exhibitions with sold-out shows in both the United States and England. Below are a few of his creations.

“A Close Portrait”

"A Close Portrait," by Milt Kobayashi



"Arrival" by Milt Kobayashi


“Amy with Her Friend”

"Amy with Her Friend" by Milt Kobayashi



"Blue" by Milt Kobayashi



"Distance" by Milt Kobayashi


“Blue Table”

"Blue Table" by Milt Kobayashi



"Flowing" by Milt Kobayashi



"Curled" by Milt Kobayashi


“Late Night Bistro”

"Late Night Bistro" by Milt Kobayashi


“Musician Circles”

"Musician Circles" by Milt Kobayashi


“Emerald and Glitter”

"Emerald and Glitter" by Milt Kobayashi


“Naked Strawberries”

"Naked Strawberries" by Milt Kobayashi


“Hanafuda Summer”

"Hanafuda Summer" by Milt Kobayashi


“The Last Strawberry”

"The Last Strawberry" by Milt Kobayashi


“Two Women”

"Two Women" by Milt Kobayashi