Motoi Oi was born Japan in 1910. His professional artistic career began when he was commissioned to create a number of murals. After World War II, his art was exhibited throughout Japan. In the late 1950s, Oi moved to New York. There he began teaching art at Queen's College, and at the Brooklyn Institute of Art & Science. As the founder of the Sumi-e Society of America, he received the Order of the Rising Sun from the Emperor of Japan for his work in US-Japanese cultural relations. His prints and paintings can be found in renowned collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York and the National Gallery in Washington.