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Three Questions with Japanese artist Yaeko Kurimata

Yaeko Kurimata: Myoujinzaka Public Mural via Paint + Pattern

The Japanese have a unique decorative history. The renaissance in the decorative arts of Japan occurred during the Momoyama era, where gilding, lacquer finishes, sculptures, textiles and the creation of pigmented artworks flourished. In the current era, one of Japan’s best decorative artists (if not the) is Yaeko Kurimata of Faux Arts Design. Working in hotels, restaurants, boutiques and private residences all over Japan, her studio manages an average of 300 projects per year as she tries to stabilize and further the Japanese decorative arts in the modern times.

Yaeko Kurimata: Nature Inspired Painted CeilingNature-Inspired Ceiling at the Active World Design City

Japan’s favorite interior style is simple, plain and white most of the time. Lately, decorative painting and murals have been more accepted. The main reason is that people understand other cultures nowadays, and their lifestyle has become more global,” Yaeko explains.

Even though most painters are working at Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studios Japan, the changing design scene has her excited. “In this situation, the decorative paint business is very exciting for me. When they don’t know the possibilities, there are a lot of chances to grow when we present our skill, techniques and how meaningful decorative painting can be in their spaces.”

Yaeko Kurimata: Myoujinzaka Public Mural Works via Paint + Pattern

Myoujin Zaka Public Mural – My dream is more colors and murals in Japan. The Myojin Zaka mural in Tokyo received much attention by the public. The area under the railroad bridge was always 3D (dark, dirty and dangerous). We choose the right acrylic paint for the wall, which is tinged with humidity. The wall’s design is trompe-l’oeil and inspired from an old Japanese plaster wall representing historic Tokyo.

As you can see from case studies in the US, murals are a very effective method of adding environmental protection and beauty. Tokyo is quite an old and complicated city. Since we will have the Summer Olympics in 2020, I believe public murals have a role to help safeguard and clean the city.

Yaeko Kurimata: Restaurant by Faux Arts Design via Paint + Pattern

What are your favorite surfaces to work on and design for?

I love to use the Proceed products as well as acrylic paint and house paint. I especially love to use metallic paint and mix each paint. They are applied many times and give a color depth to surfaces. I don’t have trouble with any surfaces as a base. I love to arrange and combine surfaces with many different materials.

Yaeko Kurimata: Faux Arts Design Studio Working on a KOTOWA Screen via Paint + Pattern

Yaeko Kurimata: Stenciled Floor Screen via Paint + Pattern

Yaeko Kurimata: KOTOWA Arts via Paint + Pattern

Yaeko Kurimata standing by the large KOTOWA Art Panels via Paint + Pattern

Yaeko Kurimata: Blue Flower via Paint + Pattern

Yaeko Kurimata: Painting on Fabric for KOTOWA via Paint + Pattern

Yaeko Kurimata: Black n White Pattern via Paint + Pattern

Yaeko Kurimata: Green Art Work via Paint + Pattern

We have a variety of wedding styles in Japan. Kyoto Kotowa Yasaka is located in historic Kyoto and is neighbor to the famous Yasaka Shrine. Kotowa is a brand new wedding hall with a large park next to it. I designed and we are currently painting 22 pieces of artwork for this hall and the natural scenery is a feature of the location and inspiration. The artwork has Japanese motifs with new color essences and a little bit of wabi-sabi, Japanese antique finishes.

Your ‘dream team’ works at your studio during many of your off-site projects. What do you think are studio “must haves” for the creative process?

Natural light to understand real color

Big walls and big working tables

All kinds of brushes, paints, tools and especially my favorite talc for funny surfaces

Good music and good coffee

Yaeko Kurimata: Salon Tokyo, 2013 via Paint + Pattern

Yaeko Kurimata: Salon Tokyo Exhibition via Paint + PatternPart of the Salon, Tokyo artists and exhibition

Please tell us about your largest project in 2013.

My biggest project in 2013 was the Salon host in Japan.  Salon celebrates extraordinary international decorative arts and it was a very honorable and great experience in my life. We had 51 sponsors with 63 painters from outside Japan and more than 1,000 Japanese people visited the exhibits. The theme of Salon, Tokyo was “East meets West – Sharing” and during the four day exhibition, Salon artists showed the Japanese people, the very best artistic techniques. It was a wonderful entertainment for the Japanese and helped to further introduce the world of decorative painting in Japan. It is a wonderful organization.

Yaeko Kurimata: Manten-Sush Canvas Arts via Paint + Pattern

Yaeko Kurimata: Manten-sushi via Paint + PatternOur newest restaurant project, Manten-sushi, is in a high-end shopping complex, Coredo Muromachi

Yaeko Kurimata via Paint + Pattern

Yaeko Kurimata posted the vision for her studio on the Faux Arts Design website. “Since ancient times, interior design has been used to make our lives more comfortable. The architecture of the world heritage sites bear witness to the beauty that was created by human hands. I believe that nothing is superior to human skills and mankind’s artistic and creative imagination. Today, more than ever before, people need a nurturing and healing environment. Our role is to provide the positive energy of nurturing spaces through images and colors… in improving modern life.”  These words can also resonate for the incredible tenacity and strength of the Japanese people and the inner artist within each of us.


  1. Yaeko, you have the soul of a poet and the hands of a master artist/craftswoman! Thank you so much for showing us your work!

  2. Wonderful! Outstanding! Spectacular!!!!

    I’m so proud and happy for you Yaeko! You’re realizing your dreams! I love your work and your mission statement rings so true to you…it reminds me of the many nights we spent at your loft listening to Sarah Vaughn talking about the limitless possibilities our passions for the arts and it’s impact it would have.

    You are such an inspiration to me


  3. Yaeko, your work is stunning! What a wonderful article. I hope your efforts to educate people about decorative painting is richly rewarded.

  4. Serge Toulekima

    Hi Yaeko,
    Thank you for sharing your work with me. It looks great, and you are beautiful on the picture. We really need to catch up again one of these days. Kiss


    • Serge – Much appreciate your comment for Yaeko and her beautiful artistry. Thanks for stopping by Paint + Pattern! 🙂

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