Masami Teraoka believes everything in human life relates to sexuality. This belief is expressed through his creatively crafted paintings and illustrations. Born in Japan, Masami Teroaka moved to the US in 1960. He attended the prestigious Otis School of Art and Design in California. Though his work thought controversial by some of his peers and professors, this did not deter him from creating work based on significant social issues. Known for visually breaking down barriers and pushing boundaries, Masami Teraoka mixes iconographic Renaissance style painting with traditional Ukiyo-e renderings. The most notable of his work includes a series featuring McDonald’s, 31 Flavors, the AIDS epidemic, and most recently, the Catholic Church abuse scandals—the true monsters within our society.
Who is Masami Teraoka?
Masami Teraoka loves visual poetry. Focusing more on a narrative style, he looks at the serious issues affecting our modern society. One example is the Catholic clergy and the sex abuse scandals. Masami Teroaka uses heavy gold leaf frames to illustrate the over-the-top wealth and power of the Catholic Church. The image seen below displays dozens of scantily clad women lying in salacious poses. Men in white cassocks and peaked papal headwear are surrounding the females. The disturbing scene is an actual account from a former nun who shared her experiences with Masami Teraoka.
“This is a profoundly amazing place to look into, the confessional room. The dark box or black box holds all of the secrets. I wanted to investigate the driving force of that institution.” — Masami Teraoka
Dear Mr. President
The Lewinsky-Clinton sex scandal is one of the most controversial of moments of our modern history. Masami Teraoka uses Clinton’s intensive investigation, trial, and testimony for creating a large panel. Seen below are figures referencing Kenneth Starr, Dick Cheney and Bill Clinton appear in varying states of disguise. The image is strife with scandal, betrayal, violence, and denial. Here we see the scriptural allegories as Monica Lewinsky and the Twin Towers of Babel being blended. The image truly illustrates the obsession with sex and power.
Masami Teraoka works on an enormous scale. Using oil paint and watercolor, Teraoka’s canvases and triptychs range from six to twenty feet wide and up to eight feet tall. Although his style is layered with a lot of chaos, they are also packed with incredible detail. He enjoys favoring the traditional Japanese style by using geisha and patterned kimonos and layering modern elements within the image. Each painting is cleverly juxtaposed with characters wearing punk hairstyle and bondage gear.
See more work by Masami Teraoka by visiting his website here.3