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Yuko Yamamoto

from Duncan BC

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Yuko Yamamoto

My art making started with drawing while my grandmother read story books for me. I also liked to write stories and essays since my childhood. I was also fascinated by works of surrealists, such as Max Ernst, and of a Flemish painter, Hieronymus Bosch. As I became an adult, all these guided me to become a certified clinical psychologist (MA, Japan, 1994) who employs drawings in therapy sessions. My clients drew their fantasy/imagery and told stories about themselves. I learned that storytelling and drawing are intrinsic and fundamental activities for human.

In my Master of Fine Arts study, which I started in 1998 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I was exposed to minimalism and conceptual arts and many other contemporary works. I started making performance art incorporating sculptural costumes, texts, storytelling, and drawings. Through creating performances, I learned sound/video making and manipulation, stage design and construction, directing other performers, etc.. I also created collaborative works and learned how to work with other artists in different ways. In 2002, I designed a performance art class, titled "autobiography", and taught at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago. The member of my class was quite multicultural including racial and sexual minorities. I met talented and enthusiastic students, witnessed their artists’ processes, and learned many things from them. From 1998 to 2006, I made performance works and presented them in the US, Singapore, Finland, Canada, and Japan.

In 2003, I moved back to Japan and started to work as an art teacher at various settings, such as a psychiatric hospital, a community center, schools, and my own private art studio. From 2004 to 2009, I was a board member and an art director of Art and Culture Committee of Ohta Ward of Tokyo. I organized three to four art events every year for local artists and the community.

After my first child was born in 2005, it became difficult to present live performances in late evening shows or in performance festivals held abroad. I then drew and created visual arts that I could exhibit in galleries. Additionally, after having spent five years creating art in the US, I had become very hungry about traditional Japanese arts. Since I had been making costumes, I wanted to study Japanese fabrics and started to learn traditional Japanese weaving and dyeing. I learned weaving skills from weavers of different schools and created my own pieces. I sew garments with my own hand-woven materials. I studied Japanese Shibori dyeing, from a researcher, Hiroko Ando, and a dyeing artist, Shigeru Oota. In 2010, I met Tetsuo Koyama, a Japanese woodblock dyeing master, and intensively learned traditional Japanese Yuzen dyeing.

In the spring of 2012, I moved to the Cowichan Valley to open my art creation and education studio, “Artafternoon (”. I always enjoyed life in North America and I wanted to come back to raise our children in this wonderful environment. My current art creation media include drawing on paper and fabric, and blog writings. Just after I moved to the Cowichan Valley, I stated my Japanese blog site, “Afternoon in the Cowichan Valley (”.

Art Portfolio


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The Cowichan Valley Regional District is a broad geographic region stretching from the Malahat to North Oyster and from the Cowichan Lake to Thetis Island.

The region's artists are represented by 5 sub-regional arts councils with support from the CVRD Arts and Culture Division