Born in Japan, Teikichi Hikoyama (1884-1957) was one of the most influential artists in the development of Japanese American art. Arriving in San Francisco, California, in 1901, he is believed to be the first Japanese artist in California creating woodblock prints. He also painted, using both oil based and ink paints. His art displayed elements of modernism and magic realism. His work was often visionary earning him the nickname of The Black Flame among his contemporaries.
Hikoyama’s art represented exceptional modernist ideas. In 1921, Hikoyama, along with Chiura Obata and Matsusaburo Hibi, founded the avant garde art group, The East West Art Society. Hikoyama also associated with the Three Primary Colors Art Group. During the 1920’s, these organizations held exhibitions in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Hikoyama also participated in mainstream museum exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Art, California Palace of the Legion of Honor and the 1926 California Industries Expo in San Diego. By 1933, Hikoyama had returned to Japan.