Ichiro Tsuruta was born in Kumamoto Prefecture and now lives and works in Kyoto, Japan. After graduating from high school, Tsuruta continued on to Tama Art University, where he majored in graphic design. The time Tsuruta spent at university was during an era when Super-realism was sweeping over the design world. He mastered the use of an airbrush by himself, and drew in the style that was in fashion at that time. After creating work that was heavily influenced by the West, he started to contemplate ways in which he could unite Japanese styles like ukiyo-e with Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements of the West.
This led him to bijin-ga paintings of beautiful women which was developed as wood block prints from the 17th to 19th centuries. Thus he converted from the Western-style realism, which involves drawing with an adept technique in order to look like a photograph, into producing delicate and symbolic Japanese-style portraits.