Asa Nakata

Artist statement

I am a printmaker and book artist who makes interactive installations. My main focus is traditional Japanese family crests. In Japan, people have all inherited family crests which are usually combinations of family’s class, trade, environment, and name from their ancestors and carry them as their identification. I am fascinated by the visual and historical aspects of these crests, however, because of the cultural shifts, not everyone wears kimonos nor do they acknowledge their family crest anymore. My family’s history was a part of my childhood because of my great grandfather. He founded a print shop that had all tools and skills for all the processes to print family crests on kimonos. It was not traditional back then to merge multiple printing steps in one shop.

My works are based on my grandmother, who used to be one of the main artisans in the print shop and one of the first female artisans in the city. She created paper stencils and drew family crests directly on kimonos. I create a space for audiences where they can explore delicate and intricate prints as well as books that introduce the culture of family crests. I did not want to be complacent with the books and tools my grandmother handed down to me and call them my own. Instead, my works are a celebration of a cultural tradition that is not a recreation of my grandmother’s craft, but a continuum between tradition and contemporary art practice. The existence of family crests is a dying culture in Japan and I want to reinvent and reinterpret the strength of the tradition in a new way that shows a new appreciation for them.

2017 Bachelor's in Fine Art, Printmaking, San Francisco Art Institute

The Book as Place: Visions of the Built Environment, Curated by Julie Chen, Environmental Design Library, UC Berkeley, CA
The Open Book Show, Root Division, San Francisco, CA
Initial Impression, Osaka University of Arts, Osaka, Japan
Bibliophoria V,  Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA
BFA Exhibition, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
Initial Impression, Fort Mason Campus, San Francisco Art Institute, CA
BFA Exhibition, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
Fort Mason Campus Opening Spectacle Exhibition, San Francisco, CA
The Open Book Show, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA
In My Blood, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA
THE ART OF THE BOOK, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA
Sashiko, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA
The Possible exhibition, Berkeley Museum, Berkeley, CA

Outstanding Undergraduate Award, The Printmaking Department,
San Francisco Art Institute, CA
Bronze Roller Award, The Printmaking Department, San Francisco Art Institute, CA
Honors Studio Open Studios, Honors Studios, San Francisco Art Institute, CA
Miniature Book Society Student Project Grant
Book Club of California’s Bay Area Book Arts Programs: Student Showcase, San Francisco, CA
Award of Excellence, 9th High School Student Poster Contest, Ogaki Poster Museum, Japan

2017 “MBS Student Scholarship’s First Recipient: Asa Nakata,” The Miniature Book Society Newsletter, July 2017, p23

Book/ Print Fairs
2017 Miniature Book Fair, MBS Conclave XXXV, Oakland, CA
16th Annual San Francisco Zine Fest, County Fair Building: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

Private collection, Sterling,VA
UC Berkeley Libraries, CA

Professional Experience
June 2018 - Present
Internship with Flying Fish Press
June 2015 - Present
Internship with Gazelle & Goat, custom letterpress printing & hand bookbinding studio, San Francisco, CA

Teaching Assistant
2017   Workshop with Alisa Golden, MBS Conclave XXXV, Oakland, CA
Workshop with Judith Serebrin, MBS Conclave XXXV, Oakland, CA

images from The Art of the Book