Biography & CV

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Born in Tokyo, Hiroko Imada studied at the Tokyo Zokei University and later at the Slade School of Fine Art (University College London). Her degree show in 1992 caught the attention of The Times art critic David Cohen, who described her work as ‘heralding an impressive new talent’. In 1992, Imada was awarded the British Council Fellowship for her achievements at the Slade. She is now based in London.

From her early youth, Imada’s favoured subjects have been ‘Nature’ and ‘Dance and Movement’, and although she likes to work in various different media such as printmaking, painting, and site specific installation, a strong sense of continuity runs through all her works.

She has exhibited throughout Europe and Japan, and a number of her exhibitions have been featured at Japan-related events and in the official magazine of the Embassy of Japan. Her solo exhibition in 2013 at the Riverside Studios Gallery in London, for example, was part of the ‘Japan 400’ event which celebrated the 400th anniversary of Japanese-British relations.

Her solo exhibition in 2015 was produced by the Children’s Art Centre Pessi, in Vantaa, Finland, and was broadcast by Yle TV News. Her print works have been featured in the prestigious Saatchi Art Online collection.

In 2015 she was commissioned by the British luxury phone manufacturer Vertu to produce an art work for their new phone, Aster Yosegi Wood (made in a limited edition of 50). The whole process of creation was filmed and used for the advertising campaign.

In 2017, Imada created a giant paper wave interactive installation work at the Great Court of the British Museum as a part of 'Hokusai, beyond the Great Wave’ exhibition official event - Hokusai: Making Waves. 

In 2019, she was comissioned by Universal Pictures to create a painting for a specific scene and her painting appears in the film “Fast and Furious 9” which was  premired in June 2021.

In 2021, Imada created an iinstallation work at The Wave Coventry and an interactive installation work with pupils in Coventry at the Coventry Cathedral as a part of the event of Japan-UK Season of Culture, and the same year, she was commissioned by the British Museum to create a woodblock print inspired by Hokusai’s drawing and its process was recorded to create a film to run at the exhibition ‘Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything’ from 30 September 2021 to 30 January 2022 at the British Museum.

In 2022, she has created a Japanese woodblock print in colour inspired by one of the piece from the Royal Collection and its process was filmed and presented at  'Japan: Courts and Culture' exhibition from 8 April 2022 to 26 February 2023 at the Miller Learning Room, The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace. The film was also used for the multimedia guide at the exhibition.

Imada also specialises in teaching Japanese woodblock printing, papermaking, folded screen making, and hanging scroll making. In 2000 she established the Japanese woodblock printing course at the British Museum and in 2017 at the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, and has been teaching it in both organizations regularly since then. She has taught Japanese art related workshops at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin each year since 2008.

Imada has works in the collections of the Vantaa Art Museum, Finland; the Youth Foundation, Oporto, Portugal; the British School in Rome, Italy; Berlin City Library, Germany; Children and Youth Art Library, Germany; Central Japan Railway Company, Japan; Tokyo Electric Power Company; Nisshinbo Trade Union, Japan; University College London, UK; Telehouse London, UK; as well as many other public and private collections.



Apr 1984 - Mar 1988             Tokyo Zokei University, Fine Art Department, Tokyo, Japan

Oct 1990 - Jun 1992              The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London

                                        Postgraduate in Printmaking, London, England

Scholarships & Grants

1982                        Suidobata Art School Scholarship

1985,86 & 87           Tokyo University of Art and Design Scholarship

1991                        University College London Scholarship for Overseas Students

1992                        Overseas Study, Druckwerkstatt Studio Berlin

1992                        The British Council Fellowship

1993                        Artist in Residence, Westminster Adult Education Institute, London

1997&98                  Artist in Residence, Donnington Grove Society, Newbury

1999                        Artist in Residence, Queen Elizabeth Six Form College, Darlington

2000                        The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese foundation Grant

2000                        The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Grant

2018                       Artist in Residence, The Guanlan Original Printmaking Base, Shenzhen, China

Selected Solo Exhibitions

Jul 1993                 The Japanese Artist in the World, Vol.4, Gallery Lunami, Tokyo, Japan

May-Jun 1995        Installation & Print Show, The Gallery, Falmouth College of Art, Falmouth

                              (Japanese Connection 95 Event)

May-Jun 1995        Print Exhibition, Kenkou Gallery Taka, Tokyo, Japan

May-Jun 1996        Les Sylphides - Chopiniana - onto the Air, Daiwa Foundation Japan House, London

May 1997               Print Exhibition, Shitennoji Temple, Newbury (Newbury Spring Festival)

Sep-Oct 1997         Print Exhibition, R.K. Gallery, London

Feb 1998                Small Print Show, Watermill Theatre, Newbury

May 1998               Print Exhibition, The Corn Exchange, Newbury (Newbury Spring Festival)

Nov 1999               2D Work Exhibition, The Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Darlington

Jan 2000                 Millennium Celebration, Installation Exhibition, Myles Meehan Gallery

                               Darlington Art Centre, Darlington

Jan-Mar 2000          2D Work Exhibition, The Foyer, Darlington Art Centre, Darlington

Nov-Dec 2001         Light on Water, Installation Exhibition, The Myles Meehan Gallery

                               Darlington Art Centre, Darlington (Japan 2001 Event)

Feb 2002                 2D Exhibition, Desmoulin Gallery, Newbury (Japan 2001 Event)

Apr 2012                 Northern Light, Installation Exhibition, Vernissa Cultural Centre, Vantaa, Finland

                               (Tikaloikka4 - International Seminar of Dance Education for Children and Youths)

Mar 2013                 Solo Exhibition, Riverside Studios Gallery, London (Japan 400 Event)

Sep -Oct 2015         Finlandia Rhapsody, Solo Exhibition, The Children’s Art Centre Pessi, Vantaa, Finland

May -Jun 2017         Hokusai: Making Waves, Interactive Installation as a part of ‘Hokusai: beyond the Great Wave’

                                exhibition official event, The Great Court, The British Museum, London

Oct 2018                  Shapes of Water, Solo Exhibition, Sway Gallery London, London

Jun-Jul 2021            Installation exhibition, The Wave Coventry, Coventry (Japan-UK Season of Culture)

Jul 2021                  Interactive Installation, The Coventry Cathedral, Coventry (Japan-UK Season of Culture)

Nov 2021                Solo Exhibition, Sway Gallery London, London (Japan-UK Season of Culture)

Selected Group Exhibitions

Jul 1992                   AD Fine Art Summer Show, Concourse Gallery, Barbican Centre, London

Sep 1992                  Amadora Third Print Biennial, Amadora, Portugal

Dec 1992                  Print Show 1992, Flowers East, London

Mar 1993                  Japanese Contemporary Print Show, Flowers East, London

Jun 1993                   20th International Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljiana, Slovenia 

                                 (Invited British Representative)

Nov 1993                  Three-person Exhibition, Oriental Triangle, Youth Foundation Gallery, Oporto, Portugal

Apr 1996                   The Contemporary Print Show, Concourse Gallery, Barbican Centre, London

Apr 97 - Dec 98        The Daiwa Foundation Anglo-Japanese Visual Arts Touring Show, Bridge, 

                                 (U.K., Europe, Japan)

Dec 2003                  Christmas Show, Richmond Atelier, London

Jun - Aug 2016         Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2016, Royal Academy of Arts, London

Oct 2017                  Contemporary Japanese Printmaking Art 50 Artists

                                Sculpture Museum, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb, Croatia

Aug - Sep 2018       Contemporary Asian Printmaking Exhibition, Hsinchu, Taiwan

Dec 2019                All Things Ink exhibition orgnised by Degree Art, Bankside Hotel, London

Major Commissions 

2015                         Vertu ( British luxury phone manufacturer)

Created an art work for their new phone, Aster Yosegi Wood (made in a limited edition of 50). The whole process of creation was filmed and used for the advertising campaign.

2019                         Universal Pictures 

Created a painting used for a specific scene of the Hollywood film “Fast and Furious 9” . The film premired in 2021.

2021                         The British Museum

Created a woodblock print inspired by Hokusai’s drawing and its process was recorded to create a film to run at the exhibition ‘Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything’ from 30 September 2021 to January 2022 at the British Museum.

2022                           The Royal Collection Trust, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Created a colour woodblock print inspired by a piece from the Royal Collection and its process was recorded to create a film to run at the exhibition ‘Japan: Courts and Culture’ from 8 April 2022 to 26 february 2023 at The Queen’s Gallery.

Theatre Design

May 1986                  Set Design, Pynes Gray Dance Group, Plan B, Tokyo

Feb-Mar 1994          Set Design, Qi Affinities, a Japanese/Western dance performance

                                  The Place Theatre & Union Chapel, London

Feb-Apr 1995           Set & Costume Design, Hanjo by Zeami & Yukio Mishima, Studio Theatre, 

                                  London & touring in UK

Dec 1995                   Costume Design, A Story of House Spirit, Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadlers Wells, London

Apr 1997                   Costume Design, Bluebeard’s Castle by Syuji Terayama, ICA Theatre, London

Jan 1998                    Set & Costume Design, Arc Lamp, Feat Dance Company, The Place Theatre, London

Mar 2015                 VEGA, collaboration work with Pell Ensemble at the Vaults, London

                                (Supported by Arts Council of England)


Open Studios

1999 - 2014             ACAVA Palace Wharf Studios, London

2014 - 2018             Make Space Studios, London

2019 -                      Merton Arts Festival Open Studios, London  

Regular Workshops and Teachings

2000 -                      The British Museum Japanese Woodblock Printmaking course, London

2000 -                        Japanese woodblock printing and papermaking teachers’ training course

                                  The Japan Society ( formerly Japan Festival Education Trust and Japan 21)

2008 -                        Japanere art lelated course, The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Irland

2017 -                       The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts 

                                  Japanese Woodblock Printmaking course, London 

Selected Media Coverage - Newspaper & Magazine

5 May 1992                The Times, Saturday Review

25 Feb 1994               Asahi Shimbun

Mar 1994                    Insight Japan. Portfolio

16 May 1996              Yomiuri Shinbun

18 Mar 1998               Japan

23 Jul 1998                 Jordan Times

25 Jan 2000                 Japan

20 Nov 2001                Japan

15 Dec  2001               Independent, The Informaiton

24 Jan 2002                 Newbury News

Sep 2011                     Saatchi Art Online (Art We Love This Week)


28 Apr 2012                Vantaan Sanomat

18 Mar 2013               Metro (Life & Style, Exhibition, 43 page) 

21 Mar 2013               Diverse Japan (Art Exhibition Review) 

23 Sep 2015               Yle News Online, Finland


Oct 2015                   Saatchi Art Online (Spotlight on London for Frieze Week Collection)


Jun 2016                   Saatchi Art Online (Saatchi Art Artists at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2016)


TV News

24 May 1995              West Country News, West Country TV

19 Nov 1998              BBC News, BBC1

9 Nov 2001                North East Today, Tyne Tees Television

Nov 2001                   BBC News, BBC1

23 Sep 2015               Yle News, Finland


Central Japan Railway Company, London

Telehouse International Corporation of Europe Ltd, London

Tokyo Electric Power Company, London

University College London, London

School Art Loan Services, Leeds

Vantaa Art Museum, Vantaa, Finland

Nisshinbo Trade Union, Tokyo

Statdtische Galerie, Kinder u. Jugend Artothek, Viersen, Germany

Artothek, Berliner Stadtbibliothek, Berlin, Germany

Artotheck der Zentralbibliothek, Moor und Graphoteck Reinickendorf, Berlin, Germany

The British School in Roma, Roma, Italy

The Youth Foundation, Oporto, Portugal


      © Hiroko Imada 2009