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Portrait of the Artist – From Japan to Thailand

Kyoko Abe truly loves her art – an interest that she traces back to her elementary school days. "I feel happy if I have only paper, a pencil, and scissors," she says. After graduating at age 20 from a 2-year course at the Fukuoka School of Design in Japan, Kyoko worked as a professional artist at an advertising firm, creating between 100 and 200 pieces a day.

Now, several thousand miles from her artistic beginnings in Japan, Kyoko has an art studio and an art classroom for children near her house. She also has an art room at home where she works on many different kinds of art including her most recent artistic endeavor – ceramics. "I like to create everything by myself," she says.

Kyoko Abe, Painter from Japan and Thailand

Kyoko and her daughters in Thailand.

Kyoko's street scene with the ever- dangerous tuk-tuk.

The Wine Lady greeting card.

We found Japanese acrylic painter Kyoko Abe's work on postcards in what seems an unlikely spot: a street vendor's stall outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. Her cards depicted everyday Thai life – outdoor food markets, women hawking their wares aboard canoes in "floating markets," and the infamous Thai "tuk tuks" – the 3-wheel open air taxis that leave you thankful to be alive when the ride is over.

We bought her cards, searched for her online, found a Bangkok gallery that exhibits her work, and e-mailed for her contact info. When we later received a positive response to our inquiry from Kyoko we were thrilled to have found another great Kamibashi artist.

Originally from Osaka and then Oita, Japan, Kyoko has lived in Thailand since October, 1995 with her Thai husband, an assistant professor at a Thai university, and their two young daughters. She says that she has known since she was a child that she would live somewhere other than Japan, and it appears that she and Thailand are a perfect fit – among other things Thai she loves her family, the lifestyle and the way that time passes slowly there, and Thai food and fruits.

Kyoko has an exhibition in Thailand every two years, the most recent of which ran from March to April, 2006 at Akko's Collectors' House in Bangkok. She has never shown her work in the US but hopes to have an exhibition here someday. Until then, you can view and buy her paintings on greeting cards and postcards right here at