A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Goto, Byron


"My formal art education started at Woodbury College in Los Angeles in 1941. During the Second World War, I left California and entered the Art Institute of Chicago. There I earned both my Bachelor's and Master's degrees. After receiving my Bachelor's degree, I won a traveling fellowship to study graphic art and poster-making at the Beaux Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland. This was in 1941—the War had ended and we were about the first students allowed to go abroad. All Europe was on a rationed economy: Switzerland was the least affected, but still severely rationed. The Beaux Art was a traditional school, classes were held with realism as a basis of expression.

I then moved to Paris where I studied under Andre Lhote and Fernand Leger at their atelier. Paris was exciting. Cubism, surrealism and existential philosophy were dominant ideas at the time. Picasso, Matisse, Leger, Chagall, Ernst, Gromaire, Zadkine were very active then: Leger's atelier and Lhote studio were crowed with students.

After returning to Chicago and completing my Master's degree at the Art Institute, I worked for Warren Wetherwell Advertising Studio to make my living. While working in Chicago, my work developed into a style evolved from an abstraction of nature influenced by the New York Abstract School of de Kooning and Pollack; geometric forms cut into the picture in a countering effect. I exhibited with the Momentum and the Chicago Artist Shows at the Art Institute. Winning the Martin B. Kahn award in the Institute's prestigious American Show was my first real break.

The next success came in 1953 when I was invited to show my painting at the Museum of Modern Art in New York at their New Talent Exhibit. That year I moved to New York. Living on South Mountain Road, New City, Rockland County, New York, where there was a lively artistic colony—notable members included Henry Varnum Poor, Maxwell Anderson, John Masters, Lotte Lenya Milton Caniff and Herbert Katzman—I lived, raised kids, painted, made movies, and commuted to the city. In New York, I worked first with Comart Studio for a year, then with the American Broadcasting Company for seventeen years, doing various assignments, including art direction for the Winston Churchill Series and the Howard K. Smith News and Analysis program. I did the first Telstar graphic, designed the Company's international logo, and created a light animation which appeared on Times Square and was switched on from Hollywood to publicize the opening of Dick Cavett's network talk show. Also working in the ABC Advertising Department, I illustrated promotional pieces, designed brochures, newspaper ads, logos, and product packages, as well as album covers for ABC-affiliated record companies. In 1971, I returned to free-lance work in design and illustration, and to painting and film work. "

Byron S. Goto, Artist Statement

Gallery of Selected Works