DTES Small Arts Grants 10th Anniversary Website

Sleepless Kao

Watercolour + Apple Computer

Received grants in 2012 and 2017

An artist-in-motion who graduated from art school Setsu Mode in Tokyo, specializing in fashion illustration. Since then, she travelled to live and work in San Francisco, Hong Kong, and now Vancouver. She creates her own world of eccentric creatures and personalities which bloom into the void: gigantic space dotted with tiny, intimate kinships and spirits bumping into one another, all of which together narrate signs of life across Sleepless Kao’s dreamy and imaginative universe.

Her works have been exhibited all over the world, including at gallery 1 (Japan), Little Otsu, SOMARTS (San Francisco), Compound Gallery (Portland), and the site of the Helen Pitt Gallery (Vancouver). In 2007, Kao was invited to San Francisco and New York City by the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival and Asian American International Film Festival respectively to attend screenings of “Duet”, her animated short film.

Kao pursued further education after graduating from Setsu Mode, namely at BCIT (Vancouver), where she was trained in new media design. Following this, Kao has moved into sharing her skills with others, teaching 16-19 year old learners at Arts Umbrella in the Electronic Arts Teen Animation Scholarship program.

She is also makes children’s books for Simply Read Books (Vancouver) and is involved professionally in the production of The Bulletin / Geppo, a Japanese / English bilingual community publication run by the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association, where she works as an Editor.

How has receiving a DTES Small Arts Grant supported your development as an artist?

This chance helped me connect with more people and show them my new artworks and stories, which both have evolved as well.

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