Kathy Aoki

Kathy grew up on the east coast in the small town of Natick, a Boston suburb. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, followed by two years at Washington University in St. Louis for an MFA in Printmaking. Currently, Kathy lives and works in the Silicon Valley where she is an Associate Professor of Studio Art in the Department of Art and Art History at Santa Clara University. She served a three-year term as department chair from 2015 – 2018.

Kathy Aoki’s past awards include fellowships from Kala Art Institute (1995), the MacDowell Colony (2001), Headlands Center for the Arts (2003), Djerassi (2006), Val Paraiso (2013) and Frans Masereel Centrum (2013). Her work can be found in major collections across the U.S. such as the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, SFMOMA , the Harvard University Art Museums, and the New York Public Library.

Past projects included a 2004 grant from the San Francisco Public Arts Commission for the Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster Project. Her series of linocut prints were transformed into 4 x 6 ft posters entitled “Champions of Market St.” showing Market St. pedestrians dressed in super-hero garb performing random acts of kindness. In January 2012, Aoki completed the interactive “Political Paper Dolls”art installation commissioned by the San Jose Museum of Art for the exhibition “Renegade Humor.” Aoki received the Prix-de-Print award in the journal Art in Print (Nov-Dec 2015 issue), as selected by Stephen Goddard, Professor of History of Art and Associate Director and Senior Curator at the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence. The essay can be found here. In 2016, Aoki  was commissioned to create three photopolymer intalgio prints for display and and acquisition by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum in Philadelphia, for the exhibition “Happiness, Liberty, Life? American Art and Politics.”

For direct artwork inquiries, please use the contact form.

Kathy Aoki’s recent resume is available here. You can also view Aoki’s work on the Brooklyn Museum’s Feminist Art Base and the Drawing Center’s archived Viewing Program.


On view now:

Salon at the Triton Museum
Triton Museum, Santa Clara. Juried group exhibition. Through January 20, 2019.
Three prints selected. Juror Kevin B. Chen. Awarded first prize in “Prints and Drawings” category.


Recent Solo Shows

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, California
Commissioned “Sandbox” installation:  through Sept 9, 2018
Includes Hello Kitty Monument Selfie Spot and Visitors’ Center

Beauty Essentials: Artifacts from the Museum of Historical Makeovers
April 21 – June 23, 2017
Haldan Gallery, South Lake Tahoe

Formidable Fragments: Breaking Down the Cult of Cute
Berkeley Art Center (California)
October 8 – November 20, 2016


Recent Commission:

Happiness, Liberty, Life! American Art and Politics
Group show including three commissioned works created by Kathy Aoki
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, Philadelphia
June 30 – September 18, 2016


Six minutes of Kathy Aoki’s fifteen minutes of fame were used for this artist profile on SPARK* on KQED San Francisco Bay Area television.
Kathy Aoki on Spark (first aired 2007)


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