A third generation
Kobayashi was born in
New York City, soon after that his family moved to
Hawaii, and then ventured to
Los Angeles when he was eight. After receiving his
B.A. in 1970 from the
University of California - Los Angeles,
Kobayashi began working as an illustrator. However he found his work,
which was quite editorial in its nature, did not fit the
commercial art market. In 1977, Kobayashi
New York City. After returning to
New York, a casual visit to the
Metropolitan Museum of Art permanently altered
Kobayashi's artistic direction and prompted a
career change. There he saw
Juan de Paraja.
He began studying the works of Whistler, Chase and Sargent, who were also influenced by Velazquez. Strangely enough, it was through his study of Western masters, especially Whistler, that Kobayashi became aware of Japanese art and "the Japanese floating world of Edo". He began studying the 16th and 17th century Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock print masters Hokasai, Sharaku and Utamaro. Ukiyo-e is defined as "pictures of the floating world," depicting characters in the constantly changing motions of life. The whole perspective of Japanese art allures him - the patterns, color harmonies, use of negative space, and primarily, composition and design.
Kobayashi has received two major awards: the National Academy of Design's Ranger Purchased Award and the Allied Arts Silver Medal. His work has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, and Reader's Digest magazines.