DAVID KURAOKA, who has been actively involved with clay for more than four decades, maintains studios in Hawaii and San Francisco. He received a BA and MA in Art from San Jose State University and a PhD equivalency from San Francisco State University.
Kuraoka has developed several different bodies of work. Among these are his wheel-thrown and altered pit-fired forms; vessel-based ceramic and bronze sculpture; wheel-thrown porcelains glazed with celadon or shino; and wall-mounted, handmade ceramic slabs, often grouped in compositions of varying sizes. He also works with tall columns of clay extruded by the Mission Clay Products Co's Building Products Inc. His design philosophy involves recognizing the beauty of natural forms, combined with a visual language that he believes to be universal.
Kuraoka, head of the SFSU Ceramics department from 1982 to 2008, created an intensive, hands-on ceramics program at SFSU. Kuraoka exhibits extensively and has shown in more than 80 exhibitions, more than 30 of them solo. His work in Hawaii includes two large Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts commissions. His work in San Francisco includes a public art commission for San Francisco State University.
Kuraoka, known for his work with American Raku and primitive pit firing techniques, created large, collaborative annual beach festivals that engaged ceramics and glass departments from all over Northern California for 15 years. Kuraoka helped initiate a related event in Hawaii, where the Raku Ho’olaule’a has attracted artists annually for more than 30 years. Kuraoka was named a Hawaii Living Treasure in 1987.