Leo Amino (1911 - December 1, 1989) was a Japanese-American visual artist known for his Abstract-Expressionist sculptures created with a wide range of materials, including wood, wire, and plastics.
Born in Taiwan, Amino spent his childhood in Tokyo, where his father’s calligraphy and his mother’s floral design inspired his desire to pursue a career as a professional artist. Amino immigrated to the United States in 1929 where he studied at San Mateo Junior College in California for two years and, later, at New York University. Amino remained in New York to work for a Japanese wood importing firm from which he took home ebony samples to carve. Amino began to study direct carving, a technique that emphasizes the marks of the tools and the patterns in the wood or stone. Amino wanted to incorporate more color into his pieces, and he experimented with various methods, including painting wood, mixing pigments with plaster, and carving pieces of colored polystyrene.
Amino's artistic career was briefly halted by World War II, during which he served in the US Navy as a translator. After the war concluded, he noticed the increased availability of synthetic resin due to its use as a substitute for materials that were needed for the war effort. He became the first artist to experiment with and use synthetic resin as an artistic medium, alternating between resin and wood in his sculptures.
In the summers of 1946 and 1950, he taught at Black Mountain College, and from 1952 until 1977 taught at Cooper Union. Amino died on December 1, 1989, in New York City.