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about the artist

Kanna Aoki was born in Tokyo and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and earned a BA in Studio Art and Mathematics from University of the Pacific in California. After college, she worked as an  illustrator for various clients while living in San Francisco. Several years later, parenting replaced client work, and evening art classes led to a painting practice which grew along with her sons. She now paints full-time in her studio in Berkeley, and lives with her partner, type designer Mark van Bronkhorst, and their two cats.


Her work is regularly shown in galleries, and is in private and public collections across 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, art writer

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