Sculptor Ken Hiratsuka was born in 1959 in Shimodate City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.
He graduated in 1982 from Musashino University of Art in Tokyo. In the same year, Hiratsuka came to New York City, received a fellowship from the Art Students League, and embarked on his life work of carving one continuous line in stone around the world. Committed to art for everybody, Hiratsuka began sculpting the slate and granite sidewalks of New York City, becoming a figure in the Street Art Movement of the 80’s.
Driven by his vision of art’s capacity to transcend the differences of nations and languages, Hiratsuka’s work can now be seen in permanent public sites in both urban and natural environments in 21 countries, to date. His work is included in museum collections in Finland and Japan. Commissioned works include sculpted city sidewalks, building facades and entranceways, water sculptures and gardens. Public monuments include his 12 boulder “Peace Monument” for the Japanese Gardens of Cowra, Australia; “One Line Tower” – 40 tons x 30 ft. high -- in Yuzi Paradise Sculpture Park in Guilin, China; “One Line Boulder”, a 2004 commission for the city of Chikusei, Japan; “River,” a 100-ft long carved granite sidewalk at 25 Bond, NYC.
From the inner city, to the desert, to the coastline, Hiratsuka’s stone works are characterized by maze-like designs of infinite variation, always formed by one continuous line that never crosses itself. Hiratsuka often refers to his works as “fossils of the moment.” They are both modern and ancient, a symbol of human communication through universal language on the surface of the earth as one huge rock.
“I hope that those who see my work will discover new aspects of life, deeper levels of experience of which they may be only dimly aware. I want to inspire people to become more conscious of nature and our common humanity. No matter how lifestyles change, the basic self remains the same. I want to help bring human beings together. In my art there are no social, economic, cultural or political distinctions. We are all one.”
2019 Ken Hiratsuka’s One Line Stone Garden, Hillsdale Shopping Center, San Mateo, CA, public sculpture garden comm. by Bohannon Corporation.
2018 National Arts Club, One Man Show; “Ken Hiratsuka: OneLine Planet 2018: Sculpture, Drawings and Photographs”; cur. by Robert Yahner.
2018 “Stone. Paper. Line. Air. Water” Performance/Installation with Wen Hui & Gloria McLean at Cloud House, Huang Rui Studio, Beijing, China
2017 One Man Show at Red Museum, Osaka, Japan, “Ken Hiratsuka: One Line Planet 2017”
2017 Goldman Global Arts, “Human Kind” show, Wynwood Walls, Miami. FL
2017 Wunderkammern Gallery, Rome, Dec-Feb – “Long live the revolution” with Paolo Buggiani
2017 Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence, Italy, Jan-April –“Made in New York—Keith Haring, Paolo Buggiani and Co. "La vera origine della Street Art”
2016 Wynwood Walls, Miami, FL, Three Boulders commissioned for Miami Basel “FearLess Show”
2016 One Man Exhibition at Infinito Gallery, NYC, “Ken Hiratsuka: BALLS”; cur. by Sebastiano Tecchio
2016 Curator Gallery, NYC, “Out of Exile,” with Peter Missing, Toyo Tsuchiya, Marky; cur. by Henry Jones
2014 Omachi, Nagano, Japan – permanent site work for Primitive Sense Art Fesitval in Forest of New Millenium, 6 ft x 12 ft x 15 ft. granite.
2014 Cartagena, Columbia “Gaia of Media Luna,” site work, 3ft x 4 ft x 7 ft sandstone.
2013 Goldman Memorial Monument, Lakeside Memorial Park, Miami, FL - 5 ft. x 12 ft. x 1 ft. Granite.
2012 One Man Show, National Arts Club, NYC, sculpture and drawings.
2012 “Ken Hiratsuka: Rock and Paper: Drawings & Sculpture,” National Arts Club, Marquis Gallery, NYC. Original drawings for the book “The Road To Which I Came: New Tanka by Setsuko Hiratsuka” (Bungeisha, Japan, 2011) and selected stone works. April 14-20, cur. Robert Yahner.
2011 Keimyung University, Daegu, South Korea, “Invisible Transfer,” College of Music campus, permanent installation, 4 ft. x 4 ft x 6 ft. granite.
2009 Public Monument, Soho, NYC, “TULIP 08 “ permanent installation, 110 Greene Street.
2008 Robert Cummings Memorial Garden, Wakefield, Rhode Island, 7 granite boulders, 30’x30’, private commission
2008 25 Bond Street, “River,” New York City. Sponsored by Goldman Properties, Inc. Sidewalk carving, granite, 16’ x 100’.
2007 Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Brattleboro, VT. “From Street to Studio,” Group Show.
Granite Sidewalk Carving, Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT. 6’x6’.
2007 One Man Show, Roxbury Arts Center, Walt Meade Gallery, Roxbury, NY.
2006 The First Sculpture Symposium in New York City, Sponsored by NOHO Business Improvement District
2006 Site-Specific Sculpture, Gobi Desert, Mongolia, 15‘ x 15’ granite mountain.
2006 Easthampton, NY, “Fertile” (2005) exhibited on loan to Long House Reserve
2005 Varanasi, India sand stone mountain , 5’x5’ surface of the sand stone cliff.
2005 Varanasi, India “Kanojia” the laundry man stone 2’x3’x 3” in the Ganges River
2004 Montauk, New York “Drifted Coral” on the beach 3’x 6’x 6’granite, private commission.
2004 Erpf Gallery, One Man Show, Catskill Center, Arkville, NY.
2003 Shimodate, Japan, Civic Monument commissioned by city of Chikusei, 12 tons gray granite boulder installed in front of public library.
2003 Maui, Hawaii, Private Commission Commemorative Sculpture for Phil Sudo.
2003 Ibiza, Pronostica Art Festival, Hillside Carving 6’x6’ft
2002 Buyukcekmece, Istanbul, Turkey, 5 tons, 2 marble boulders, permanent public site on Sea of Marmara.
2002 One Man Show, Issey Miyake, Madison Avenue & 77th Street, NYC
2001 Municipal Park Freiburg, Germany, 12-ton carved granite boulder in Group Show.
2000 Mermaid/Shark Jetty Carving, Ponce de Leon Inlet, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, permission of Army Corps of Engineers, assisted by Atlantic Center for the Arts
2000 “American Street Art: New York” Exhibition travels to Kiehl, Germany, Torino, (2000), Milan (1997)
1999 One Line Tower, gray granite, 40 tons, 8 meters high x1m x1m, Permanent work for Guilin Yuzi Paradise Sculpture Park, Guilin, China.
1998 In-Sites IV: Opening the Streetscape/School to Community, Henry Street Settlement Abrons Art Center, NYC. AWARD OF EXCELLENCE given by Henry St.Settlement and NYC Department of Transportation
1996 First non-Chinese artist invited to create permanent work for Huairou Sculpture Park, Beijing, China.
Participated in TEDA International Sculpture Symposium, Tianjin, China.
1994 One Man Show entitled ONE LINE PLANET, at Amuse Gallery, 599 Broadway, New York. Featured new sculpture and photographic documentation of the international site-specific works.
1993 Hopes and Dreams, Tweed Gallery at City Hall & The Tenement Museum, New York. "An exhibition by contemporary immigrant artists celebrating the spirit of immigration." Bill Zimmer, NY Times
1993 Kemi Museum of Art, Kemi, Finland, 8 tons black granite, 5'x5'x7' This museum commission brought Hiratsuka to the Shaman Summer Festival where he carved 6 site-specific stones in Finland and Sweden.
1992 - Eco Summit/Global Forum, Granite 10'x15'x6', Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Permanent public monument in Flamingo Park on Guanabara Bay assisted by the City of Rio. It is the first large-scale story rock, depicting through symbols the events and significance of the International Summit on the Environment.
1991 Mount Merapi, Andesite 32'x23'x8', Jogjakarta, Indonesia. Large-scale site work supported by Yachiyo Engineering Co. Hiratsuka's non-figurative "primitive" work stirred public controversy in the newspapers.
1987 Peace Monument, Cowra, N.S.W., Australia, commissioned by the City of Cowra. 36-ton granite composed of 12 carved boulders lined up on the north-south magnetic line, located at the Cowra Japanese garden, formerly a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, now a major tourist attraction.
1984 Granite sidewalk, 6'x8', Prince & Broadway, NW corner, NYC One of the earliest and best known of the One Line carved sidewalk street works.