Photo : Mina Tabuchi

Ricca Okano is a Japanese ceramic artist, born in Tokyo and now based in Karuizawa, in the wild, mountainous and often snow covered region of Nagano Prefecture.

Her aesthetic is instantly recognisable as one that extends beyond the boundaries of the ceramic object. Embracing a state of multiplicity, her pieces are both sculptural and illustrative, utilitarian and sublime, culminating in vibrant and explosive works that are driven by instinct and the desire to capture her natural environment.

Each moment is an autobiographical imprint of the artist, a deeply personal exploration of material, environment and the self. For Okano, ceramics are a way of navigating the changing of seasons, the unpredictability and force of weather, and the immediacy of emotions.

At times they seem to exist restlessly between these worlds: while their otherworldly presence resists the history of the vessel to which they are bound, they are also carefully constructed to be held and used, and offer themselves as such. 

Photo : Mina Tabuchi

Ricca started out in ceramics helping with her mother's work, but soon forged a solo career. She has always strived to create new possibilities within ceramic art - taking inspiration from the materials and her environment.

While the core of her practice has always been ceramics, her creative impulse has at times broadened to include painting, sculpture and even installation art - using ceramics and video to express the real world and the spiritual world.

In her recent ceramic work, she has has challenged herself to express the weather and emotions, born from a projection of her daily feelings about the natural environment of Karuizawa, and drawing inspiration from the ecosystem of the forest around her atelier - of fog, clouds, and the movement of light - and converting them into shape and colour

A strong characteristic of Okano's work is the playful use of colour, which she uses to express instantaneous daily emotions - "a layer of consciousness that has been dripped like coffee beans by blending scenes picked up from the time axis of the past, present and the future".

When working, she focuses on the inevitable form that arises from her technique, and often deliberately reconstructs the artefacts that arise from her process -  leaving the shape of a finger that’s made when grabbing a piece from the pottery wheel, or attaching a handle or foot by cutting the shape of the cup. 

Photo : Mina Tabuchi

Moving to Karuizawa in 2005 had a profound influence on her practice. Set in the mountainous and often snow covered surroundings of the Nagano area, the beauty of its volcanoes, fogs, and forests, and the seasonal changes in nature all stimulate her work. And while making pottery in the the freezing conditions of winter can be physically challenging, she is drawn to the beauty of the snow field, where she can quietly concentrate on her work in the presence of animals and nature. 

Over the years Ricca has exhibited extensively throughout Japan, with both solo shows and as part of group exhibitions. She also has a strong international presence, and has exhibited work in places as varied as Karlsruhe, Taipei and New York City, and was recently part of the Thirst Exhibition of Contemporary Asian Craftsmanship x Sydney Design Week by overduestudio in Sydney.

She continues to make and exhibit her work as an artist and has opened the "be here now" gallery in Karuizawa.


Ricca's extraordinary work is in high demand in Japan and around the world, and it is a great honour for us to be able to share a small selection of it with the Australian market.


27 OCT 2023 • Sky & Earth


1965 Born in Tokyo, JAPAN
1985 Graduated from Kyoritsu Women's Junior College
1990 Graduated from Tajimi Technical High School - Advanced Ceramics Course


1994 Galerie 412 | Tokyo
1996 Gallery Genkai | Tokyo, Kaneko Art Gallery | Tokyo
1997 Galeria Ceramica | Tokyo
1998 Galerie Pousse | Tokyo
1999 Galerie Pousse | Tokyo
2000 Kukansha Sirako | Tokyo
2001 Kaneko Art Gallery 2 | Tokyo, Gallery Ami | Osaka, Utuwa Studio Try | Nakai
2002 Galerie Pousse | Tokyo
2003 Utuwa Studio TRY | Nakai
2004 Gallery Kou | Tokyo, galerie ou | Osaka, Kaneko Art Gallery 2 | Tokyo
2005 Youkobo Art Space | Tokyo, Utuwa Studio Try | Nakai
2011 Gallery Daiwa | Gifu
2013 Tri-angle | Karuizawa
2014 Kaneko Art Tokyo | Tokyo, Gallery Ato | Manazuru, Gallery Musai | Tokyo
2015 Gallery KOU | Tokyo, BITOHA | Karuizawa
2016 Art Space 563 | Taipei, Gallery Yori | Tokyo, Art Collection Museum | Nagano
2017 Art Collection Museum | Nagano, Shigitatuan | Oiso
2018 be here now | Karuizawa
2019 Imagine | Ashikaga
2020 Atelier Kika | Kamakura
2021 Mizusai | Tokyo, Imasora Coffee | Osaka, Kukansha-Shirako | Tokyo
2022 Mizusai | Tokyo, Ginza Mitsukoshi | Tokyo


2003 Gallery Bi-dama | Osaka
2005 Gallery Bi-dama | Osaka
2007 Sense & Space Exhibition - Chikuma River Highway Museum | Nagano
2008 Tri-angle | Karuizawa
2009 Specio Tao | Madrid-Spain, Imagine/Ashikaga - Gallery Daiwa | Gifu
2010 Tri-angle | Karuizawa, Galerie Pousse | Ginza
2011 Gallery Mizunosora | Tokyo
2012 Kokoro Gallery Sudo | Tomizu, 108 Earthly Desires - Gallery Bi-dama | Osaka
2013 Page Gallery Sudo | Tomizu, Rolling into the stream - Atelier Kika | Kamakura, Art Contrada di Karuizawa, Feeling to go to the growth - Gallery Tuyuki | Odawara
2015 Art Collection Museum | Nagano, Galactic Stream - Wachigai | Nagano, Nusutomori-Shingoster Living | Tsukuba, Arlan Huang x Ricca Okano - Flowers of The Moon - Gallery Bi-dama | Osaka, Palm-of-the-Hand Stories - Gallery Bi-dama | Osaka, Feeling to go to the growth - Gallery Sudo | Tomizu
2016 In Tune Bitoha | Karuizawa, Gallery Tuyuki | Odawara, Palm-of-the-Hand Stories - Gallery Bi-dama | Osaka, Feeling to go to the growth - Gallery Tuyuki | Odawara
2017 3rd Discover The One Japanese Art - Ashok Jain Gallery | N.Y
2018 Artistic feeling...Vol.Ⅱ - Imagine | Ashikaga
2019 Noie | Mashiko, Oiso Utsuwa Days | Toson House, A Oiso La | Oiso, Gallery Bi-dama | Osaka, Bridge - Cube Gallery | Tokyo, Kinokuniya Siam Paragon | Isetan Bangkok, Imagine | Ashikaga
2020 Stay - Kai Sengokuhara | Hakone, Nocturne - Gallery Bi-dama | Osaka
2021 Feast Life Aesthetics Exhibition - Touch Ceramic | Hong Kong, Gallery Utsuwa Note | Kawagoe
2022 Gallery Noir/Nokta | Shizuoka, Tou Yokariyo | Okinawa, On Matter and Meaning - Comptoir102 | Dubai


2009 "Art Karlsruhe 2009" - Gallery Sudo | Germany
2015 Shinano Primitive Sense Art Festival 2015
2017 20th Taro Award - Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum | Kawasaki
2018 Artist in Residence - Hakone | Sengokuhara
2022 Thirst Exhibition - Contemporary Asian Craftsmanship x Sydney Design Week - overduestudio | Sydney