Yoichi Ohira (b. 1946)
Born in Japan in 1946, Yoichi Ohira is one of the most distinguished modern glass artists in the world.
Yoichi Ohira attended Tokyo’s Kuwasawa Design School and graduated in 1969 with a focus in fashion. Ohira then went on to apprentice in Japanese glass factories before moving to Venice to study sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti in 1973. In the same year, Ohira began working with glass on the island of Murano at the Centro Studio Pittoi nell’Arte del Vetro di Murano. In 1987 he became the Artistic Director at Murano’s de Majo Glassworks, where he worked alongside some of Italy’s most skilled glass artists.
In 1992, after five years of working for de Majo, Yoichi Ohira stepped into the role of an independent artist. He began working with Muranese master glassblower Livio Serena and was joined in 1995 by master glass cutter Giacomo Barbini.
While Ohira is hardly the first foreign artist invited to study under the tutelage of Murano glass makers, he is widely considered one of the finest. His work expresses an elegant mingling of Japanese esthetics and centuries-old Venetian techniques.
One of the most striking features of Ohira’s work is the alluring shape and scale of his creations. They are often palm-sized and organically inspired in form - vibrantly colored glass ‘melons’ that seem to invite you to pick them up and hold them.
Every piece Yoichi Ohira creates begins life as a detailed drawing that maps its form and colors . Ohira then works with glassblower Livio Serena and often with Giacomo Barbini who helps cut the glass. The signature of each artist who contributed to the piece can be found on the bottom of every Ohira vessel.
Though Yoichi Ohira retired in 2010, his works live on in the permanent collections of several notable museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, The Murano Glass Museum in Venice, The Corning Glass Museum and several other institutions across the globe. His work has been displayed amongst fellow glassblowing masters Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra. Glass vessels by Ohira are highly-prized by collectors and regularly command five-figure sale prices on the secondary market.