Koji Tanaka is a Santa Barbara, CA based wood artist specializing in hand crafted wood art and custom furniture. He was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area along with his two older brothers. His artistic parents nurtured his love for the arts and that support continues to be a source of influence and inspiration. From an early age Koji had a natural affinity and interest in different art media, which he pursued as a hobby and built a foundation for the future. Koji's passion for art led him to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) where he graduated with degrees in Art Studio and History of Art and Architecture. While at UCSB, Koji participated in a design-build project called Open Container. This sustainability art project involved converting two 20-foot shipping containers into a habitable studio space. As a core member of the team, he gained practical experience in metal fabrication, woodworking, and general construction. With this valuable experience, he became an apprentice to master woodworker, Victor DiNovi, following completion of his studies at UCSB. Since 2007, Koji has been refining and honing his skills while building his personal portfolio with private contracts.
The heart of my work is derived from organic forms found in nature. Working with wood allows me to sculpt natural pieces and attempt to embody and regain what nature has perfected over millenia. Every piece of wood I work with has its own unique characteristics and grain patterns that dictate how the material will best be displayed. These patterns and flows are fundamental to each piece as they provide as much art to the pieces as my hands. Much of the work is accomplished with hand and power tools, such as chisels, grinders, and sander, but in the finishing stages, it is completely hand-sanded. I believe the hand is the best tool to truly bring the piece to its finished stage. I want my clients to experience my pieces as I do in their final stages, feeling and touching all the curves, grains, and essence with their fingers. My pieces are as much a visual experience as they are a tactile one. The collaborative design process between the client and I allows for a creative amalgamation of ideas ultimately producing a piece that please all who are involved. As my clients' tastes are wide-ranging, my designs reflect my boundless creativity. I aim to create pieces of the highest quality using process that is proven and never ending attention to detail.