Tamao Nakayama was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and moved to the U.S. when she was 25 years old. She is still deeply influenced by the Japanese aesthetic, and the belief that 'less is more'. She is an emerging artist with a minimalist abstract style. She currently resides in Virginia.
When Tamao was young, the country of Japan was changing significantly. Even though Tokyo had been rebuilt after World War II, many areas were still undeveloped. There were a lot of small studios of traditional craftsmen in every neighborhood. The elementary school she went to was built for experimenting with new educational programs. The school was very innovative and creative in the country at the time, and her creativity blossomed there. She and her classmates created comic books, a SiFi film, and theater plays. She studied art and sculpted with paper at the after-school program.
From 2001 to 2003, Tamao studied art and ceramic sculpture at Santa Rosa Junior College in northern California. In 2004, She studied glass, metal, and furniture design at Palomar College in southern California. She won scholarship awards from California College of Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology, Savannah College of Art and Design to study at these schools. However, Tamao felt that she needed to experience how art was implemented in real life and to explore new technologies and materials in the design fields. She moved to Los Angeles and worked for furniture designers, interior designers and architects.
In Oct. 2020, Tamao moved from California to Virginia because of Pandemic. During her moving processes, she discovered six of her sculptures were stolen from her storage in San Diego. Unfortunately, the thieves were never caught and these pieces were never found. Tamao started to create from scratch in a garage in Virginia. Originally she was planning to pick up where she left off 17 years ago, to work on ceramic sculpture. However, knowing that the pandemic would prevent her from having access to a kiln for a while, she tried to create sculptures with other materials like concrete. Unfortunately, the temperature in the garage for Virginia winter was too cold for concrete to cure. Finally, she concluded that the only way to continue being creative was to stay inside and paint. In Oct. 2021, Tamao’s painting got selected for the juried group exhibition ‘Hypothesis’ and was exhibited at the Target Gallery in Alexandria, VA.
Tamao is new in art, yet she has numerous unique experiences in design, culture and life. This difficult time in 2020 made her explore 2-dimensional art. She currently works on painting and sculpture using various materials at her studio in Woodbridge, VA.
I enjoy experimenting with materials, finding the unique character in each, and discovering how it wants to behave. For example, I love the way paint mixes on a scale of inches, and I've begun producing very large prints of what were originally very small paintings. The large prints bring to life a micro-world of texture and color that is impossible to see with the naked eye.
The modern world can be a very stressful place. Sometimes the beauty in the world is so small that we miss it. I want to remind people that it is still there, and give them a chance to escape into a world of paint and pigment.