Wataru has cultivated an appreciative audience for the Haniwa type imagery in his sculpture. Elements of Japanese history and mythology are almost the exclusive focus of Wataru's creations. He interprets imaginary and existing objects and gives them a modern twist by bringing his personal vision to these subjects. His sculptures are truly inspirational, have a powerful presence, sense of humor, and make a strong impression on his viewers. Besides historical elements, extremely fine detail and exquisite facial expressions are featured on his sculptures.
Wataru Sugiyama originally came from Japan to Southern Oregon as a Speech and Communication major, to fulfill a long-held dream of teaching English. By chance, he took a class in ceramics to fulfill a course requirement. It changed his life. Suddenly, he found that he could bring his personal vision and form to what had been a rigid Japanese esthetic. He could combine the traditional and the contemporary in new and exciting ways -- ways that he would not have been able to do in the structured artistic world of Japan.