Akiko Hoshino

Last month I attended, at the invitation of my friend Bob Palevitz, the award ceremony and reception for Allied Artists 97th Annual Exhibition. The event was held at the National Arts Club. Not only was the artwork outstanding, the turnout was huge. My mom came too.

Just after the prizes were handed out, Bob told me that one of the awardees, a gifted young pastelist named Akiko Hoshino, had died just weeks earlier after being struck by a car while crossing the street. Akiko fought for her life in the hospital for a few days after the accident, but eventually succumbed to her very serious injuries. What an unbelievable tragedy. I couldn’t even speak when Bob told me this.

This is the piece for which Akiko was posthumously awarded the Silver Medal of Honor at the Allied Artists ceremony, and you can see why. It was a real standout. This elegant, sensitive pastel work is titled Be Alive:

I did not know Akiko, unfortunately. I wish I did. She studied at the Art Students League where I used to work but not anymore. But two good friends of mine knew her well – Dan Gheno and fellow pastelist Sam Goodsell who became a mentor to her. I just got off the phone with Sam, and he told me that he had gone to see Akiko in the hospital when she was near death. What a terrible, terrible thing. She was so young, full of talent and promise.

Wait for the Right Moment – The Hibernated, by Akiko Hoshino:

In addition to her meticulous technical skill with pastel which is a difficult medium, I am most moved by the spiritual, life-affirming quality of Akiko’s work. In an age when many up and coming artists feel like they must resort to shock value, cynicism, and harsh, disturbing images to get attention, Akiko Hoshino celebrated the substance of beauty and light and the inherent vitality of the figure. She said, “If my work wasn’t making me happy, how could I expect it to make anyone else happy? . . . I want to paint my feelings, but I don’t want to paint them in a dark way.” Beautifully stated, Akiko.

You can see more images of Akiko’s work on her website, Akiko Hoshino.

Here is a condolence page for Akiko from the Pastel Society of America with a lovely photo of her.

Akiko’s words that I quoted above are taken from the excellent profile of her that appeared in the July issue of Pastel Journal. Read the article in its entirety to learn more about this young woman’s journey from Japan to the United States, from a seeking student to an artist who found her voice. You will be inspired.

Deepest condolences to Akiko’s family. May she rest in peace.


15 thoughts on “Akiko Hoshino

  1. I didn’t know her, but her work is lovely. Thanks for sharing her work, Claudia. I share your sudden sense of loss.

    • artmodel says:

      Daniel, thank you. Yes, her work is lovely. I wish I had a chance to meet her. I’m sure I would have talked to her at the Allied Artists reception, but sadly she was not there to accept her award. She would have been so happy I’m sure.


  2. Beautiful tribute to an excellent artist.

  3. daverudin1 says:

    A nice tribute to a talented artist. What a loss not only to the art world but to the world in general. I love the sense of joy that was seen on the face of many of her subjects. I see that she was also a talented printmaker.

    I agree with you that it’s important that people show that the world is a place filled not only by conflict, disease, war, horror and hunger but also by love and beauty, too – things that make life worth living and give us a reason to continue living day to day. That’s what I try to show in my own work.

    On a personal note, whenever I read of someone getting killed in a car accident or as a result of head injuries, it makes me realize just how lucky I was. I too was hit by a car crossing the street three and a half years ago, my head smashing into the ground so hard that all I could see was a blur for several seconds and then was carted off on a stretcher to the ER. Fortunately, all I suffered were a couple of broken fingers and a concussion – but I realize that it could have been much much worse.

    Sadly, for Akiko and for us, it was.

    • artmodel says:


      Thanks for your great comments and for sharing your story. I’m very glad your accident was not more severe. All we can do in the case of Akiko is honor her life and work. And yes, she was a talented printmaker. Thanks for pointing that out.

      Happy New year friend!


  4. Gavin says:

    What a terrific artist and a sad loss to us all. Honto ni zannen no koto desu;( Kanojo no e wa subarashi.

    • artmodel says:


      Thank you for the Japanese. I had trouble translating it. If you could let me know what it means that would be great.

      My friend Meg also contributed this:

      ご冥福をお祈りいたします。Gomeifuku o oinori itashi masu

      “Praying for the soul to have a safe crossing of the river.”


      • Gavin says:

        It’s probably because my Japanese is extremely rusty. I meant to say “It’s very sad, her pictures are fantastic”.

  5. I didn’t know her, but have been aware of her work for some time. This is the first I’m learning of her untimely passing, and it is utterly shocking. What a tragedy…

    • artmodel says:


      Yes, it is shocking. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it. Reminds us, tragically, that life is full of unpredictable and random occurrences. We have to cherish every day we have.

      Thanks for your comments, Jean. And Happy New Year!


  6. Sharon Stair says:

    I have been following her work, she was one of my favorites. Just read about her death in the new Pastel Journal. Coulden’t believe it, so sorry, she was one of the best. I am a portrait artist myself and she inspired me.

    • artmodel says:


      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Akiko Hoshino. I meant to reply to your comments sooner, but I got busy with work and some other things. I can certainly see how, as a portrait artist, you would be inspired by her work. If there is one word to describe Akiko’s work “inspiring” is it. Her untimely death has shocked many in the art community.


  7. Alma Luz Villanueva says:

    I happened upon your blog via the wonderful Emily Rapp…and I’d never heard of or seen Akiko’s work, so BEAUTIFUL…her images are literally healing to me, gracias for posting. What sadness that she won’t continue this amazing work, her life.

    • artmodel says:


      I’m honored that you stopped by Museworthy, especially via Emily’s blog. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments over there.

      Akiko’s work does indeed have a “healing” quality, and I’m not surprised her art affected you in that way and moved you enough to post a comment.

      Thank you Alma! Please visit again. I’ll see you over at Little Seal too 🙂


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