“The diversity of expression in art today is partly a result of new technology. In the sculpture classes, for example, we now have a pneumatic tool system, which is aiding students with additional power. However, the traditional method of carving remains the foundation and is most important. Since I have joined the Art Students League as an instructor, I have met marvelous students from whom I have learned,” says Seiji Saito.
Mr. Saito teaches “how to see the form and compose.” In his class, students are encouraged to work in their own style, choosing their own subjects and materials.
Mr. Saito was born in Utsunomiya, Japan. He received his B.F.A., studying drawing, clay modeling, and wood carving with the spirited sculptor Professor Tsuruzo Ishii at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. There, he also received his M.F.A., with a concentration in stone carving.
Mr. Saito’s superb technical training in both hand and machine carving techniques is based upon study with esteemed instructor Kametaro Akashi. Later, Mr. Saito came to the United States and received a scholarship to study at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. He also studied techniques of granite carving with master stone carver Odilio Beggi. Mr. Beggi encouraged him to create his Mother and Child in one-ton Vermont granite. Mr. Saito then directly carved it in three-ton Rourentian red granite from Canada—a process that took nineteen years.
The artist has exhibited widely for forty years. His works are in public, private, and corporate collections internationally. Five of his works are in the PepsiCo Inc. collection in Purchase, New York. Recent exhibitions include Power of Sculpture, featuring the work of three Utsunomiya sculptors: Rusuo Saeki, Seiji Saito, and Akio Shinozaki, at Utsunomiya Museum of Art in Japan (2013).
Mr. Saito has received numerous awards for his work, including a major purchase prize from the First Kotaro Takamura Grand Prize Exhibition at the Hakone Open-Air Museum in Japan. He has been elected as a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society. He has received four awards from the National Sculpture Society, in addition to major awards from the National Academy.
He maintains both carving and clay modeling studios in his Brooklyn loft.