Richmond Art Center Richmond Art Center

Nakashima Fine Arts

Artist: Dawn Nakashima

Work: I worked for a while in the 90’s at SFMOMA as an installer. Exposure to “museum art” had a strange effect on me. Does art have to be so “precious?” Is it only for people who have lots of money? I grew up on a produce farm in Central California. “Museum art” wasn’t really a thing. But I saw value in learning a craft, practicing and sharing it. I like to think the art I create now is very accessible – something that you can have in your everyday life. The imagery of my work speaks to things that amuse me – like my love of baseball, the American/English vernacular, exploring my Japanese heritage, life in the Bay Area.

About: Being an artist wasn’t really a thing when I was growing up. It wasn’t practical. It was for hippies and druggies. I got a degree in Industrial Design from SJSU. While it was a great education I kept gravitating back toward art as expression. I eventually got my MFA in Studio Art from Mills College in Oakland. I was reluctant to learn computer skills to advance my art because early on I didn’t like the aesthetic – it looked like it was created on the computer. I’ve come to embrace Illustrator and Photoshop as tools that help me work more efficiently while still creating my own unique creations.

Last Note: I press all my mugs in my studio. All the designs are original to me. I think people will like them. They are inexpensive and unique and original. Some of my imagery is tied to “Mochi Tsuki” – the coming together to make rice cakes in the Japanese tradition. In my hometown of Livingston, CA we’ve had a Mochi Tsuki (usually between Christmas & New Year’s) for the past 40+ years. Sadly, we didn’t have one in 2020 due to the pandemic. This year’s event was also cancelled.

Visit and Contact

Richmond Art Center
2540 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, CA 94804-1600


Gallery Hours: Wed-Sat 10am-4pm