Mitsuru "Mits" Kataoka

(1934–2018) Japanese American designer, educator, and pioneer of media technologies

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Mitsuru “Mits” Kataoka, a designer, educator, and pioneer of new media technologies, was born in 1934 in Jefferson Park, California. In 1942, his family was sent to the Pomona Assembly Camp and then to the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming. At the end of World War II, Kataoka’s parents were among the incarcerees recruited as laborers for Seabrook Farms in New Jersey.

Kataoka graduated from high school in New Jersey, then studied at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he received a B.A. in Arts Education in 1957 and an M.A. in Communication Design in 1959. From 1957 to 1965, he served in the U.S. Army Reserves as an armored tank officer. He became a faculty member at the Department of Art, Art History, and Design at UCLA in 1966. In the early 1970s, he developed the first two-way, decentralized citywide cable television system in the United States.

Kataoka was instrumental in bringing digital printmaking to the art world. He envisioned a computer and printer system that could be operated by artists with museum quality resolution and archival inks and paper, years before ink jet technology was capable of such quality.

He passed away in May 2018. (July 2019)

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