Born in Kanagawa, Japan, Hiroshi graduated from Tama Art College with a degree in Graphic Design. In 1990 he went to study at the Accademia Di Brella in Milan and focused on fine art and sculpture. He began focusing on illustration while studying in Italy. His first project was a t-shirt design for a night club in Milan.
Hiroshi Tanabe’s unique and vibrant illustrations mirror the graphic line work of traditional Japanese woodcuts. His illustrations have evolved into more refined and layered drawings throughout his career. Though constantly changing, his works marry old-world beauty and modernity in a way that is thoroughly fresh. His illustrations have appeared throughout Europe, The United States and Japan.
His illustrations have won him worldwide acclaim and he was the recipient of British Vogue’s esteemed Vogue/Sotheby’s Beaton Award for fashion illustration in 1994. In 1997, Pucci International commissioned him to design a collection of mannequins and wall graphics. Hiroshi has two published books of his work. The first was an award winning book of illustrations, Blue Mode, published by Korinsha Press (1998). His innovative approach to both illustration and design garnered Gold Awards for Tanabe from the New York Art Directors Club. His next book was titled, “#2” and was published by Graphic-sha in 2003 when he returned to Japan for a series of exhibitions of his work in connection with the book. He explained, “I wanted to establish my own personal work without having to deal with theme, concept and category…works that are not related to my career but still express 100% of myself.”
Since then Hiroshi has exhibited his illustrations internationally and has kept a busy schedule with commissions from clients including Anna Sui, Shiseido, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Lloyd & Co., Le Sportsac, GAP, British Vogue, Barney’s New York, Ann Taylor, Sony,Achtung, Harper’s Bazaar and Rolling Stone.