Artist Statement

The main expressive mediums of Kyoko Matsunaga are mixed media work and book arts, which combine uniquely processed images with words or other digital information. Kyoko was born and brought up in Japan where the East and the West live in harmony. She embraces a desire to clearly understand the western world, but at the same time, she needs amorphous white areas in her mind.
As white is a traditional and symbolic color in Japan, it suggests nothingness, death, rebirth, innocence or awe. She feels that white connects the real world to her dream and beyond. Kyoko’s images are created by selectively painting white over parts of photographs, snapshots of daily life, or images pulled from the Internet. In many cases, she uses semitransparent materials such as Japanese paper, drying oil, or beeswax to create a sense of distance from reality.
These creations have been inspired by the scenery of her dreams. Traces of light captured by the camera or our human eyes physically prove the existence of things. On the other hand, these altered images, covered by a misty white color, show how Kyoko recognizes and determines the world.


Kyoko Matsunaga (born in Hyogo, Japan, 1981) is a Kyoto-based artist. She graduated from Kyoto Seika University with a BFA in Printmaking. Then she studied with a bookbinder, Yo Yamazaki, while working as a graphic designer for several years in Tokyo. Kyoko and her husband had lived in the San Francisco Bay Area where she learned new aspects of contemporary book arts between 2010 to 2013. Her work has been exhibited in Japan and abroad.

Curriculum Vitae


2011-12 Studied in Print & Book Arts at Foothill College, CA, USA
2006-09 Studied with a bookbinder Yo Yamazaki, Tokyo, Japan
2000-04 BFA in Printmaking, Kyoto Seika University, Kyoto, Japan


-Solo and Two-Person Exhibitions

“Kyoko Matsunaga Book Arts Show” , Kinder Gallery, Japan
“View of Memory” , 38 STUDIO, Japan
“UBI SUNT” , Horikawa AC Lab, Japan
“Body Memories” (Two-person exhibition with Masako Kobayashi), E&C Gallery, Japan
“Engraved” (Two-person exhibition with Hiroko Shimizu), Gallery Paw, Japan
“Observation Points”, TANADA Piece Gallery, Japan
“Garden of Memory”, Entkukui, Gallery and Bar, Japan
“ART EAT ART” AS2, a Party Gallery, Japan
“Common Factors”, Hanare, Gallery and Cafe, Japan

-Selected Group Exhibitions

“Open Sesame! The Magic of Artist’s Books”, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, WA, USA
“21/21 Vision: Celebrating the New Generation of Book Artists”, SFCB, CA, USA
“HELLO HEDI”, 23 Sandy Gallery, OR, USA
“The Art Museum’s Bookshelf for the Book Object 2”, Ashikaga Museum of Art, Japan
“Wondlerland Revisited”,Open Book Cowles Literary Commons, MN, USA
“The Art Museum’s Bookshelf for the Book Object”, Ashikaga Museum of Art, Japan
“Book/Architecture”, Hillside Forum, Tokyo, Japan
“Kalligraphia 13”, Skylight Gallery, SF Main Library, CA, USA
“Shin Jidai: Contemporary Japanese Book and Paper Arts”, MCBA, MN, USA
“The Treasure in the Bookshelf”, Shelf, Tokyo, Japan
“Meet Art”, KuLaSu Season, Asahiya Book Stores, Japan
“THE LIBRARY ASHIKAGA”, Ashikaga Museum of Art, Japan
“Centre to Periphery”, Japan Creative Centre, Embassy of Japan, Singapore
“Young Japanese Artists’ Books Fair”, Printed Matter / NY Kinokuniya Book Stores, USA
“International Book Art Picnic”, Osaka Prefecture Nakanoshima Library, Japan
“Young Artists’ Books Fair”, Shinjuku-Minami Kinokuniya Book Stores, Japan
“THE LIBRARY — Art that became Book”, Shizuoka Art Gallery, Japan
“Art Jam Tokyo 2008”, Art Jam Contemporary, Japan

Public Collections

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
Baylor University
Carnegie Mellon University
Cleveland Institute of Art
Colorado College
Evergreen State College Library
George Mason University
Harvard Fine Arts Library
Johns Hopkins University
Laguna College of Art and Design
MacEwan University
Michigan State University
Middle Tennessee State University
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Museum Meermanno Netherlands
Otis College
Pratt Institute
Rhode Island School of Design
Ringling School of Art + Design
Savannah College of Art and Design
Seattle University
Stanford University
St. Lawrence University
Swarthmore College
University of California Los Angels Art Library
University of California Santa Barbara
University of Michigan
University of Oregon Art and Architecture Library
University of Pittsburg
University of Rochester
University of Southern California
University of Texas Austin
University of Virginia
University of Washington
Virginia Commonwealth University


Around the Book Art, by Miho Nakanishi, Kyototto 2016
500 Handmade Books Volume2, Lark Books 2013


Kinderland, Kyoto, Japan
38 STUDIO, Shizuoka, Japan
Nishinomiya Gardens, Kobe, Japan
Retro Printing Jam, Osaka, Japan
University of Fukui, Fukui, Japan
Studio Letter Arts, Kobe, Japan
Atelier Moon Shell, Tokyo,Japan
+Script, Tokyo, Japan
Quartermaster Press, WA, USA
Wishi Washi Studio, CA, USA
Ashikaga Museum of Art, Tochigi, Japan
TANADA Piece Gallery, Kyoto, Japan


The Hedi Kyle Award at HELLO HEDI, 23 Sandy Gallery, OR, USA
Honorable Mention at 3er concurso internacional de libros de artista, L?a, Guadalajara, Mexico
Benesse Prize at Amuse Art Jam 2008, The Museum of Kyoto, Japan
Finalist at SICF 2008, Spiral, Japan
Finalist at Amuse Art Jam 2007, The Museum of Kyoto, Japan