Born in the Bay Area into a family that savored the rich Japanese tradition of ceramics, John Toki has worked in clay for over 35 years. A respected studio artist and adjunct professor at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in Oakland, Toki is also the president and owner of Leslie Ceramic Supply Company in Berkeley, which his parents founded fifty years ago, and the co- author of several notable books on ceramic sculpture.
Toki speaks about the satisfaction of working with clay: "It can be used for large-scale works, as well as more intimate pieces, with equal success. You can apply color by painting, glazing or mixing it into the clay. It's a quiet activity that you can manipulate with only your hands, you don't need tools really. You can use it for representational works, as well as abstraction. And I really like the physical presence of clay."
Toki’s large-scale sculptures in clay and porcelain possess a timeless quality, inspired from forms found in nature (mountains, water, snow, sky) and suggest archaeological elements, yet they have a unique freshness in their technical complexity and resulting visual appeal. His work has been shown in the US, the Netherlands and Japan. He has completed public commissions and installations in Richmond, Berkeley, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, and Cincinnati.