Chiami Sekine is a professional illustrator and fine artist based in Sapporo, Japan. Born and raised in Japan, she began her education in design at the Kanazawa College of Art. After graduation, she worked as a furniture designer and then moved on to illustration and fine art. She received an MFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where she studied illustration and fine art. Her artwork combines elements of Japanese pop culture and western abstract painting techniques. Her whimsical paintings of animals and other subjects are shown in United States and Japan. Chiami has received a number of awards for her work: Society of Illustrators, Creative Quarterly Magazine of the Journal of Art & Design, CMYK Magazine, Northern National Art Competition. She is a member of the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles and is represented by STUDIO Gallery in San Francisco.
In Chiami Sekine’s whimsical world, animals are often used to portray human emotions. Her popular Boxing Bear series grew out of diary sketches she began while studying at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Chiami uses acrylic paint and oil pastel, along with collaged elements, to create pieces that combine humor and darker emotions. She frequently employs a boxing bear as a self-portrait, but she is quick to point out that there are no sparring partners in her work: the fight is with herself, on the canvas, worked out in the painting process.