Chiura Obata was a well-known Japanese-American artist and popular art teacher. A self-described "roughneck", Obata went to the United States in 1903, at age 17. After initially working as an illustrator and commercial decorator, he had a successful career as a painter, following a 1927 summer spent in the Sierra Nevada, and was a faculty member in the Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1932 to 1954, interrupted by World War II, when he spent a year in an internment camp. He nevertheless emerged as a leading figure in the Northern California art scene and as an influential educator, teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, for nearly twenty years and acting as founding director of art school at the Topaz internment camp. After his retirement, he continued to paint and to lead group tours to Japan to see gardens and art.