about the artist

Early in her career, Kanna worked as a freelance commercial illustrator/designer for varied clients. Years later, when she and her husband started a family she switched to full-time motherhood. When their boys were two & four years old, she began taking evening drawing and painting classes at the local adult school. This was the beginning of her current painting practice which has grown along with their sons. She now paints full-time, and the boys are now wonderful young men. She and her husband, type designer Mark van Bronkhorst, live in the San Francisco Bay area with their two cats.


Kanna’s work is regularly shown in galleries, and is in private and public collections in the US and abroad.


A KEEN AND PATIENT OBSERVER of Northern California landscapes and cityscapes, Kanna Aoki has a knack for capturing the particularities of light and atmosphere. Using fluid touches of paint to describe cool zones of shade and carefully balanced areas of sky, architecture and flora, she creates images that perfectly transmit both the time of day and local temperatures. Gracefully brushed and often tinged with a sense of solitude, her canvases are consistently poetic and notably quiet. Attracted to the idea that beauty can be gleaned from the mundane, Aoki has a way of infusing her painted world with the serenity that the real world so often lacks.

... “The San Francisco Bay Area is very much part of me and what I know,” Aoki explains, “and I love it here.” That love of place and sense of familiarity is at the heart of her paintings. In each canvas there is a sense of wonderment along with a willingness to ask questions about the aura and implications of each place. By poeticizing the atmosphere of places she loves, we are invited to share her enjoyment of them while quietly contemplating what they are now and what they may become in the future.

—John Seed, retired professor of art and art writer