Course leader Kazuhiro Tsuji is a contemporary hyperrealist sculptor living and working in Los Angeles. He has recently been awarded with an Oscar and Bafta for his design work in The Darkest Hour.
After working 25 years as a special effects makeup artist in Hollywood, Kazu decisively shifted focus in 2012, dedicating himself full time to fine art sculpture. Using resin, platinum silicone, and many other materials, Kazu constructs three-dimensional portraits in a scale two times life size.
Kazu is a self taught pioneer in the craft of using contemporary materials to create the illusion of life. Having discovered the art of special effects makeup for himself while perusing American magazines as a teenager, he developed skills through mimicry, trial and error. In 1987, he found the address for Dick Smith in Fangoria Magazine and initiated a pen pal student/mentor relationship with him which eventually resulted in Kazu’s first film gig fresh out of high school. As an early pioneer in Japan, Kazu founded one of the country’s first companies of its kind, Makeup and Effects Unlimited, and worked with director Akira Kurosawa in the production of “Rhapsody in August”.
These experiences made him the obvious choice to instruct the first classes dedicated to the emerging craft of special effects makeup at the newly founded Yoyogi Animation Institute. In 1996, Kazu was sponsored by Rick Baker to work on “Men In Black” in the USA. This prompted a decade-long collaboration with Baker where Kazu was project supervisor and makeup artist. In 2007, Kazu started KTS Effects Inc. in Los Angeles. In retrospect his film career had served as a laboratory for developing cutting edge styles of portrait painting, photography, and sculpture. This led to a collaboration with Contemporary Artist Paul McCarthy where Kazu was hired to supervise the projects thathave become some of McCarthy’s latest major works.
Currently, Kazu is primarily focused on producing large scale hyperrealist portrait sculpture in his custom built modeling and casting studio in Los Angeles. The recent work he has exhibited widely at major art fairs and museums, has magnetized the attention from collectors, press, and visiting art enthusiasts alike.