Koichi Sato stands in front of painting - portrait

Koichi Sato

Exuberant portraits bursting with colour and pattern.

“I think innocence is the thing, I only work with figures I like.”

Paintings by Koichi Sato celebrate cherished characters in American culture. The portraits feature wrestlers, bodybuilders, preachers, cheerleaders and musicians. Individuals and groups bedazzle with cheerful smiles and uplifting optimism. “To me, these characters are my friends. They like beer, they’re very trashy.” Trained as a graphic designer and in film, Sato is not formally educated as a pai...

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Koichi Sato (he/him) was born in 1974 in Tokyo, Japan, and now lives and works in New York City, United States.


In 2021, Koichi Sato created three NFTs. Each one shows four of Sato’s painted portraits in rapid succession. The works were shown digitally and IRL at Breadcrumbs: Art in the age of NFTism. The curator was Kenny Schachter, a US champion of art and NFTs.

Did you know?

Sato’s paintings often feature people with polydactyly. This is when there are more than five fingers on a hand. "If it looks good then all is fine," he says – sometimes that means seven digits.

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Collaborations with Koichi Sato