Tomizo Saratani was born in Kyoto and has spent his life working on traditional japanese lacquer (urushi). After his studies under various teachers, in 1975 he moved to Vienna as an instructor and restorer for the MAK - the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts - where he supervised the restorations of lacquered furniture in Austrian public collections for eight years. He then worked as lacquer restorer and netsuke artist in London, Chicago and his hometown in Hokkaido and in 2003 he decided to dedicate himself solely to his original works.
The subjects Tomizo picks are very often animals, which he is able to render with impressive naturalism.
Urushi, Japanese lacquer, is produced from an indigenous Japanese plant and has long been employed in the production of tools and decorations. Lacquer is a ductile and excellent medium for artistic expression due to its versatility in processing and the high precision that the drying process provides for. Urushi has given rise to absolute masterpieces of extraordinary beauty and intensity in the hands of Japanese lacquerers over the ages, and it continues to inspire the creativity of contemporary artists.