Sakura Maku

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What is my artwork about?

I paint as though I’m cooking or driving. I map out a bunch of directions and make different types of color-coded drawings that plan and predict what the thing might look like, all the while anticipating the final outcome. Sometimes my paintings are maps for drawings, comics and prints. At times, I plan and plan and plan, and then break the rules. My work often looks like pieces of drawings and prints taped together, weaved with paint. I imagine my drawings in series of dimensional spaces. I think about how things in color and black-and-white relate.

Artist Statement

When I make things, I love making versions of peripheral drawings that plan out all the juicy details about its structure and materials. I really like to get up in there, measure to death, re-measure and color-code like crazy. I’m a true mapper. I plan what I can out and like to keep moving as if I’m cooking or driving. I love to play with paint, its consistency, transparency, smoothness and tactility. One thing I can’t get enough of about printmaking is the secondary stuff. The linocut block, un-inked with its cut lines and curvy crevices, that make out subtle images and words, backwards. It’s rubbery-ness and unimportant attitude. The way it loves to kiss and kiss paper in a very certain way. It gives and asks for little in return. My favorite has to be the litho stone. I can spend forever prepping a limestone. Three nuanced levels of grinding carborundum with a levigator. The way the grit spreads like watercolor, and washes off like a beach under sunlight coming from the window. That thick leather flag-fan, sometimes replaced with used and cut-up litho plates, with its clunky wooden tennis racket handle. Then filing the edges of the stone, fine-tuning with levels of files, and burnishing to an obsessive polish with a brand new blade, until it starts to sheen.

I love to make paint flawless and smooth like plastic, gritty like salt, uneven light a lit cave. I live to apply thin layers of transparencies like sheets of colored acetate that let me make more colors with less. There’s nothing more compelling than a color so vibrant, one thin even layer over white shines brighter than two or three. Sometimes I wonder what color is at all. I see all these new images coming from Mars on the internet, and a majority of them are in black and white. The color images, even when they seem real, beg the question of distance and mechanical filters. At the end of the day, there’s no one there to actually see it. I’ve made drawings or comic strips that I know will be viewed in both color and black-and-white. For instance, the strip I made (06_XOExo_2014_ink_paper.jpg) for the Brooklyn Rail was black-and-white in print and color online. The site-specific installation I recently made (01_XOExo_2015.site_installation.jpg) at the ICA Boston went a step further. I wanted something that did what my strip did, but in dimensional space. What if color is just an illusion? What if the color system on Earth is specific to Earth? There must be so many colors we’ve never seen or known before. I’ve included a few examples of older work from 2005 through 2007,


(19_untitled_2007_site_installation.jpg)(20_Green_Thing_2005_Akir a_Kira_2006_acrylic_wood_fabric_metal.jpg). These works are a few samples of past experiments with comics and the book form, in dimensional space. I see the activation of the wall and floor, or the wall and ceiling as gestures that resonate with open books.


2007 MFA Painting and Printmaking, Yale University, New Haven, CT
2004 BFA Illustration and Cartooning, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY2005 Art Student’s League, New York, NY
2002 Valencia Community College, Orlando, FL
Select Exhibitions
2015 Kijidome, James and Audrey Foster Prize Exhibition, ICA Boston, MA
2014 Not So Soft, Gallery La Peche, Los Angeles, CA Brooklyn Brain Frame 2, curated by Lyra Hill, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn, NY
2013 The Pond, The Mirror, The Kaleidoscope, curated by Thomas Woodruff, Visual Arts Gallery,
School of Visual Arts, New York, NYImago Mundi, curated by Diego Cortez, Fondazione Querini Stampalia, collateral event byLuciano Benneton for Venice Biennale, Italy
2011 Goodbye Space Shuttle, The Active Space, Brooklyn, NY
2010 NeoIntegrity Comics Edition, curated by Keith Mayerson, Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, New York, NY
2009 Octet: Codes and Contexts in Visual Art, curated by Suzanne Anker, Peter Hristoff, PeraMuseum, Istanbul, Turkey, traveled to Visual Arts Gallery, School of Visual Arts, New York, NYGrand Champions Forever, Never Say Die, curated by John Breiner, Factory Fresh Gallery,
Brooklyn, NY
2008 Radar Eyes A Survey of Hallucinogenic Printmaking, Co Prosperity Sphere, Chicago, IL
traveled to Art Car Museum, Houston, TX
2007 Thesis Exhibition, Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CTNeoIntegrity, curated by Keith Mayerson, Derek Eller, New York, NYHooray, curated by Andreis Costa, Proposition, New York, NYNew Mutants, curated by Dan Nadel, Canada, New York, NYSecret Fire Escape, My Hero Gallery, Montreal, Canada
2006 Words and Pictures Show, curated by Leslie Stein, Secret Project Robot, Brooklyn, NY
2005 100 Years of Heimatschutz, Municipal Library, Biel, Switzerland
2004 Baby’s Bathwater, curated by Keith Mayerson, Asterisk, Brooklyn, NY Suburban Sex and Supermen, curated by Duane Bruton, Westside Gallery, New York, NYScreened, curated by Gunars Prande, Visual Arts Gallery, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY Grand Champions Forever and Ever, Office Ops, Brooklyn, NY Franklin Peppermint Gallery
2004 Show, Franklin Peppermint, New York, NY
2003 NeoIntegrity Burnt to a Crisp, curated by Keith Mayerson, Asterisk, Brooklyn, NYAmerican Gothic American Noir, curated by Thomas Woodruff, PPOW, New York, NY Basement Group Show, Niagara Bar, New York, NYAwards
2007 Barry Cohen Scholarship2006 Yale School of Art Summer Teaching Fellowship2004 School of Visual Arts Rhodes Family Award in Illustration Shakespeare & Co. Publishing GrantSociety of Illustrators Meg Wohlberg Award
2003 Gilbert Stone ScholarshipPublished Comics2014 X.O. Exoplanets, The Brooklyn Rail, February.
2013 Momoko Rose, Chromazoid 2, January.
2012 Dark Tomato 2, The Brooklyn Rail, November.
Pigeons, Bums, Burning Bright, Tinhouse, Portland Brooklyn #53: (Vol.4 No.1 Fall).
2011 Dark Tomato, Domino Books2009 You Turn My Lights, Windy Corner Magazine #3. January.
You, The Holster
2006 When M Met TV, T-Shirt Comic, MTVSelf-Published Comics2014 Foot Anime Book (10 min.)
2006 Flash East Broadway
2005 Cheebcheebshkaa2004 The Purse of the Raisin-god
Let’s DanceHeimat: The Story of Chinita Juanita BananaJason Will Always Be My HeroYeah Yeah Yeah Let’s Start With The Things That Are Good To EatT-shirt Comic: Tuxedo Spottie
2003 Jason Is My Hero
2002 Barf
Chiquita Juanita BananaBuena Park Good Park
Print“The Pond, The Mirror, The Kaleidoscope.” The Visual Arts Press, August 2013.Juxtapoz Magazine. “Event: The Pond, The Mirror, The Kaleidoscope, The School of Visual Arts in NYCCelebrates the Neo-Symbolist.” Issue 151. August 13, 2013.Grant, Michael. “Upon Reflection.” Visual Arts Journal. Spring 2013.Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. “NeoIntegrity: Comics Edition.” The NeoIntegrity Omnibus. April 2013.Octet: Selected Works from the School of Visual Arts, New York. August 2009.Mayerson, Keith. “NeoIntegrity.” August 2007.Percivall, Gustav. “Sakura Maku.” Yale School of Art 2007 MFA Painting-Printmaking Catalog. May 2007.Hooray.  Published by the Holster. December 2006.
Web“Q&A with Artist Sakura Maku: From Freddy Kreuger to Garfield.” (blog).  September 6, 2013., Robert, “Top Fifteen Comic Books of 2011.” (blog). February 13, 2012., Elizabeth. “Q and A: Sakura Maku.” (blog). September 6, 2012., Maria. “Preview: Goodbye Space Shuttle @ Curbs and Stoops Active Space.”  White HotMagazine, July 2011., Austin. “20 Questions with Sakura Maku.” Domino Books. April 14, 2011., Robert. “Memory and Form: Windy Corner Magazine #3.” (blog). August 27, 2009.
Work Experience
2015 Adjunct Instructor, SVA Illustration, Linocut Color Book Inventions
2015 Adjunct Instructor, SUNY Purchase, Foundation Visual Language
2015 Adjunct Instructor, SVA Advertising, Foundation Drawing
New Haven, CT
2006 Printshop Monitor, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT2004 – 2005 Light and Music Performance / Instrument Making Assistant, Gary Panter, live
performances for Visual Music, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC
2004 Cashier, Utrecht Art Supply Store, New York2004 Puppeteer / Prop and Costume Making Assistant, Keith Mayerson, an experimental play at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater at St. Mark’s Church on theBowery, New York
2000 – 2002 America Reads Challenge Tutor, Warren Street Center for Children and Families,
Brooklyn, NY