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.”
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.
2011 - Keimyung University, Daegu, South Korea, “Invisible Transfer,” College of Music campus, permament 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 - Group Show, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Brattleboro, VT.
- Granite Sidewalk Carving, Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT. 6’x6’.
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.
- 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.
2003 - Shimodate, Japan, Civic Monument commissioned by city of Chikusei, 12 tons gray granite boulder installed in front of public library.
- Maui, Hawaii, Private Commission Commemorative Sculpture for Phil Sudo.
- 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.
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.
- Also 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.