Tsutakawa’s early oil paintings in the postwar period, showed his interest in Modernist art, with its abstracted shapes and interpretations of natural scenes and people. He was a great student of European and American early Modern masters of Impressionism, Surrealism, Bauhaus and Abstract Expressionism.
Tsutakawa created many pastel drawings reflecting his travels and observations of places he discovered in his travels.
In the early years of his training and career, Prof. Tsutakawa, like other young artists, produced linoleum block prints with intricacy and skill. Some of his compositions were scenes from the areas where he worked in Alaska fish canneries during the summers.