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  • Sleepless Kao

    An artist-in-motion who graduated from art school Setsu Mode  in Tokyo, specializing in fashion illustration. Since then, she travelled to live and work in San Francisco, Hong Kong, and now Vancouver. She creates her own world of eccentric creatures and personalities which bloom into the void: gigantic space dotted with tiny, intimate kinships and spirits bumping into one another, all of which together narrate signs of life across Sleepless Kao’s dreamy and imaginative universe.

    Her works have been exhibited all over the world, including at gallery 1 (Japan), Little Otsu, SOMARTS (San Francisco), Compound Gallery (Portland), and the site of the Helen Pitt Gallery (Vancouver). In 2007, Kao was invited to San Francisco and New York City by the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival and Asian American International Film Festival respectively to attend screenings of “Duet”, her animated short film.

    Kao pursued further education after graduating from Setsu Mode, namely at BCIT (Vancouver), where she was trained in new media design. Following this, Kao has moved into sharing her skills with others, teaching 16-19 year old learners at Arts Umbrella in the Electronic Arts Teen Animation Scholarship program.

    She is also makes children’s books for Simply Read Books (Vancouver) and is involved professionally in the production of The Bulletin / Geppo, a Japanese / English bilingual community publication run by the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association, where she works as an Editor.

    静岡県生まれ イラストレーター・絵本作家

    セツモード(東京)でファションイラストレーションを専攻後、 サンフランシスコ、香港、バンクーバー で制作活動を行う。 BCIT 工科大学(カナダ)にてニューメディア、ウェブデベロッ プメントを専攻。

    BCIT在学中に自作のイラストやオブジェを使用したビデオ 作品でBell Sympatico (MSN)や、Panasonic Canada賞 を受賞。

    Giant Robot、Little Otsu、SOMARTS (サンフランシスコ) 、Compound Gallery (ポートランド) 、gallery 1 (日本)、 Helen Pitt Gallery、Out & About (バンクーバー)等で個展 を開きペンネーム・Sleepless Kaoとして知られている。

    2007年、ショートアニメーション”Duet”を制作。サンフラン シスコのフィルムフェスティバル 、サンディエゴ、 AAIFF(NY)にて上映。NIKKEI TV (バンクーバー) にてグ ラフィック、アニメーションの専属担当を務める。

    絵本作家としてバンクーバーの出版社Simply Read Books より絵本を出版する傍ら、マックコンピューターを使ったコ ンピューターアーツを Arts Umbrella にて子供たちに指導 し、企業ポスターや出版物等のイラストレーション制作も手 がける。2014年よりThe Bulletin / Geppo のエディター に就任。バンクーバー在住。

    Duet (英語)
    Emily & the Mighty Om (英語)
    Monchan’s Bag(英語)

    • Sep 28, 2021Exhibition at SPACEyUI Tokyo

      somewhere not hereAn Exhibition by Sleepless Kao
      October 25 – 30th, 2021

      秋に 「ここではないどこか」という展覧会をします。



      もう少ししたらどこにでも普通に旅ができる世界になったらいいなあと絵の中に願いを込めながら描いています。この時期バンクーバーから日本へ、ちょっとチャレンジングですがスペース ユイで初めての個展なのでどんな出会いがあるかドキドキワクワクしています。どうぞ遊びにきてくださいね。

      At SPACEyUI

      〒107-0062 東京都港区南青山3-4-11 ハヤカワビル1F

      Please come to say Hi❣️,  enjoy my art and goods at SPACEyUI gallery in Aoyama Tokyo.

      Cards and Prints are also available on Shop site.

    • May 25, 2021Drifter 漂流者:

      An Exhibition of New Works by Sleepless Kao

      June 1 – June 30, 2021

      At Out&About

      We’re on the verge of summer as i launch my June art exhibition, Drifter.

      For over a year we’ve been so carefully cooped up, but hopefully free flow is in the works soon?!

      Letting go: my mind and body want to play castaway, to float anywhere i wish…

      please come and see my new summertime prints at Out & About—“may the flow be with you” 🙏🏼

      – Kao, June 2021

      Place: Out&About

      at 321 West Cordova Street, Vancouver BC

      Store Hours: Monday – Sunday 11-6
    • Mar 30, 2021An Exhibition Tsumugu 紡ぐ:


      An Exhibition of New Works by Sleepless KaoApril 8 – May 8, 2021

      At Branches & Knots

      Dearest Friends & Art Lovers,

      It’s springtime, and I am launching a new April art exhibition called “Tsumugu 紡ぐ” which literally means “spinning thread”; but this title is more aptly about creating story yarns, or weaving life experiences and inspiring thoughts together in my imagination. Gathering so many delicate fibers of my being, as it were, and making them into images that originate, and reverberate, in my heart.
      Throughout these uncertain days, many challenging thoughts crisscrossed me and I realized that warm feelings from people and nature were my hugest inspiration. I want to create art of love and gratitude, special ordinary moments that can hopefully touch us all in heartfelt ways.

      FYI, we can’t gather all at once, but please come visit in-person, solo paths; the feeling will be a month-long opening of many views, our tapestry of slowly returning to the world—safely and spaciously. Arigato ne!

      – Kao, April 2021

      Place: Branches & Knots
      at 3128 W. Broadway
      Store Hours: Sunday Monday Closed, Tue – Sat 12-6
    • Oct 03, 2020Sleepless Kao at MUJI

      Local Artist Pop-Up:
      Art Exhibition of Sleepless Kao
      at MUJI Robson 

      Friday to Sunday, October 2-4, 2020


      This MUJI Week, Vancouver-based illustrator @sleeplesskao will be joining us at MUJI Robson Street to exhibit her dreamy artworks to our MUJI Community from October 2nd to October 4th!

      To share her passion in eccentric art, Kao created a special illustration for the MUJI Community. During the MUJI Week from September 25th to October 4th, we will offer an exclusive, limited-edition tote bag* designed by Kao, to our customers with purchase of CAD$40 or more before tax.

      more info about MUJI Week event

      *Limit of one free bag per customer, while supplies last.

      Kaoは、無印良品コミュニティのために特別なイラストを作成しました。 9月25日から10月4日までの無印良品ウィーク期間中、税抜きで40カナダドル以上お買い上げのお客様に、Sleepless Kaoがデザインした限定版トートバッグ※をプレゼントいたします。

      イベントについてはこちらMUJI Week event

    • Sep 22, 2020here we go, –An Exhibition by Sleepless Kao🌟

      An Exhibition of New Works by

      Sleepless Kao
      September 25th – October 24th, 2020
      At Branches & Knots

      thank you for loving art in your life, just like i do!
      Dear friends and supporters of my art,

      This autumn time, i have a super brand new exhibition called “here we go,” and i hope it will be a good place for everyone to pause from all the challenges we face during this unique time, to reflect on what is our best nature with which to heal the world.

      instagram: sleepless kao

      *a special sale on all Branches & Knots merchandise
                                                                                               from September 25th Mon to 27th Sun*

      Store Hours
      Store is open on the September 27th Sunday for this event

      Sun & Mon Closed, Tue – Sat 12-6
      with reduced hours due to Covid-19

      *Store hours might change. Please check current hours on Website.
      Covid-19 Policies:

    • Apr 20, 2020An Exhibition of New Works by Sleepless Kao

      An Exhibition of New Works by Sleepless Kao

      flying with orbDear friends and art lovers,

      My exhibition and opening reception on April has been put put on hold during the serious health challenge we are currently facing.

       Live streaming of the show will hopefully be rescheduled at a later date, so please stay tuned.

      Thank you for your patience; peace and good health to you all!



      どうしたら皆んなを元気にできるかの方法を考えています。 オープニングレセプションとライブストリーミングは後日再スケジュールされますので待っててくださいね。




  • Here are places related to Sleepless Kao.

Creator's NameSleepless Kao
AreaVancouver, BC

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