The artwork of Milt Kobayashi blends together his diverse life experiences, heritage, and appreciation for great artists of the past. Although born in New York City, his early childhood was spent on the island of Oahu, Hawaii and later in California where he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
In 1977, Kobayashi returned to New York to work as an illustrator and often toured New York's famous Metopolitan Museum of Art as well as the city's many galleries. It was from the inspiration of artists such as Velasquez, Whistler, Chase, Sargent and several others that he found his particular use of color, pattern, and his compositional style. It was also from these western masters' use of negative space as seen in Japanese Edo, or "pictures of the floating world", that Kobayashi was brought back to his Japanese-American heritage.