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Artist’s Biography

Yoko Nogami was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She received her BFA from Boston University and MFA from University of South Florida.  She apprenticed with a Mexican-American muralist Judy Baca in Los Angeles, assisted in the production of World Wall and Guadalupe Mural Project.

Though possessing a strong background in painting, she also incorporates video, installation and performance as an interdisciplinary artist. Her work is conceptually driven on issues of cultural displacement, gender, parenthood and identity.  Many of her works incorporate a fictional character named "Toko" who is a hybrid of herself and her daughter, Tora.  Toko explores, reflects and portrays how the artist views the environment she is situated in. Nogami is currently engaged in works, which explore Florida’s old time culture juxtaposed with her Japanese identity, through drawings, paintings and installations. She is represented by Clayton Galleries in Tampa, Rollins Fine Art in Saint Petersburg, Riko Mizuno Gallery in Los Angeles, California.
Her works are shown nationally & internationally: Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Tampa, Tokyo, Berlin & Helsinki. She is also a frequent lecturer at national art conferences on gender/cultural identity and populist art.

She is a full time faculty at Pinellas County Center for the Arts, an arts magnet high school program in Saint Petersburg Florida. Her teaching experiences are wide and diverse: University of South Florida; University of Tampa; Art Institute of Tampa; Hillsborough Community College; Creative Clay; Youth Arts Corps. And during the summer at Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen Arts Camp.


Artist’s Statement

The United States of America: the big melting pot of culture and race, this ideal place of freedom and peace, the poster child of the United Nations. This is my home, I think.

My approach to making art, both in the traditional medium of painting and drawing, as well as in video performance projects, relies heavily on this concept of disconnect and displacement. My art is to portray these concepts visually, solely based on my own experiences as a Japanese living in this foreign land; a first hand account. In a transient world, this sense of displacement is probably not a rare experience. In a melting pot, everyone is a foreigner.

Toko is a character, a hybrid of my daughter and myself who lives, explores, questions and expresses the world that is around me. She is a hybrid derived from my daughter Tora and my identities. In all of my works, video, painting, drawing, installation, the pause, the space and the moment of silence become the key element in time for contemplation. My goal is to be unpretending, raw and realistic in my view of this melting pot, sometimes ugly, often times beautiful in its complexity.


Contact the Artist

Clayton Galleries
4105 South MacDill Ave.
Tampa, FL 33611
(813) 831-3753
[email protected]