Hiroshi Ariyama was born in Osaka, Japan in 1960, moving to Honolulu in 1972. He studied traditional printmaking while at the University of Hawaii. Later he moved to Chicago and earned a BFA from Columbia College. He has spent most of his adult life in Chicago working as an art director, before being asked to run the international office of a Japanese design consultancy. During these years he also served on the board of the Architecture and Design Society of the Art Institute of Chicago
In 2003, after nearly 20 years in the commercial world, he decided to put his energy towards fine art. Later that same year he became a member of the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative and learned to create multi-colored screenprints using intricate stencils based on his own photography.