He describes himself simply as “an artist and an artisan,” who sculpts in stone, “optimizing (it’s) original shape to express warmth and humor.” He gives life to the charm he sees in stone by carving out of it everyday items (paper bag, snow boots, handkerchief, ice cream stick), surreal themes that use actual objects, at once both improbable and whimsical (an open zipper series that reveal teeth or coffee beans or coins inside), miniature figures of people at work or at leisure.
The artist’s pieces sends one’s eye, heart, and mind to play and dance, or pause and ponder. Whatever the effect, he says, “A smile on the beholder’s face is the main motivation for my work.“
Hirotoshi Itoh was born in Matsumoto City, Japan, in 1958. He works on various types of stones, which he collects from a riverbed in his neighborhood, along the riverbanks of Azusa in Nagano, Japan. He is a graduate of Tokyo National Fine Arts University.
Coming from a family in the stonemasonry business, he himself has been a stonemason for 30 years. The surrealists René Magritte and Salvador Dalí influence Itoh’s art.