Fine Art Focus: Masako Miki

by Grace Bonney

Ana and I have been trading links back and forth for this fine art column, and we’ve been moving more and more toward installation artwork and people who do larger-scale pieces. I’m so used to focusing on smaller illustrations and paintings, but it’s been fun to learn more about people who aren’t afraid to work on a much bigger scale.

Masako Miki lives and works in Berkeley, California where she creates beautiful artwork that investigates the relationship between flora, fauna and humankind. I was so moved by her paintings of wolves, whales and foxes that I ended up spending at least three hours online digging deep into her archives to find more work and watch her evolution over the past 10 years of working. I love seeing artists that pare down their work and focus so much on amazing linework and detail. I wish I’d been able to see her amazing show in Japan (below, via Tiny Atlas Quarterly), drawn on indigo-dyed fabric. What a bold and beautiful way to present incredibly moving images. Read on to learn more about Masako and find resources to see even more… xo, grace

DSC_6743 edit 72
Artist: Masako Miki
About: Masako was born in born in Osaka, Japan. After attending Notre Dame De Namur University in California (where she received a BA in Studio Arts and Painting) and San Jose State University (where she received her Master of Fine Arts in Pictorial Arts), Masako settled in Berkeley, CA where she now lives and works.
Work: Masako works with mixed media and her work often focuses on (and is inspired by) animals, nature and humans — and their relationships to each other. Her work spans in scale from smaller illustrations to large-scale installations from California to Japan.
More: You can learn more about Masako on her website, in this interview and here online at Vimeo.

All photographs ©Masako Miki, from her website, except for the photograph of Masako drawing, from Tiny Atlas Quarterly, photographed by Wytske van Keulen.




Suggested For You


  • Gorgeous! Reminds me of another favorite artist of mine — Kiki Smith. Beautiful line work.

  • I love Design Sponge and read the whole blog every week! I’d like to gently encourage you to use gender inclusive language – humankind instead of mankind. xx

  • How wonderful to see Masako Miki featured! I am pleased to see the stunning recent work of one of my favorite teachers. The Fine Art Focus column is such a great addition to the blog. Keep it coming!

  • So great to see Masako Miki’s gorgeous work featured on Design Sponge! ~ You can see more of Masako’s work in her upcoming show at CULT this Spring and works available at cultexhibitions.com // Thanks Design Sponge!
    (Aimee Friberg Fine arts curator & interviewer on Tiny Atlas Quarterly / Owner at CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, San Francicisco)