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

“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

“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
Carnegie Mellon University
Michigan State University
University of Michigan
Colorado College
MacEwan University
University of Rochester
George Mason University
Pratt Institute
University of Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University
Rhode Island School of Design
St. Lawrence University
University of Southern California
Otis College
Cleveland Institute of Art
University of Washington
Johns Hopkins University
Ringling School of Art + Design
Seattle University
University of California Santa Barbara
University of California Los Angels Art Library
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Savannah College of Art and Design


Around the Book Art, by Miho Nakanishi, Kyototto 2016

500 Handmade Books Volume2, Lark Books 2013


Retro Printing Jam (Regular Class), 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