Thank you for visiting the Blue Bear Vending Company!


My name is Joanna - a UK based artist, exploring and learning through painting, printing and ceramics.


Heavily influenced by my love for Japan, much of my work comes predominantly in blue tones, inspired by the blue decoration used in ceramics around the world and the all-blue woodblock prints known as aizuri-e which began in the 1830’s in Japan after chemical blue pigments were introduced and which in turn fed back into Western art. For me, blue is able to express the emotions I feel when viewing an everyday scene in a way no other colour can. Small touches of red will sometimes make their way in, if only in the form of my artist’s stamp. Originally working mainly on paper, I have diversified to working on the wooden kokeshi style forms and since 2017 I have been learning to create work in clay.


I work under the pen name Joanna Nakamura – a nickname once given to me by a Japanese friend because of my insatiable interest in the culture and folklore of Japan. The characters for Nakamura [中村] literally mean ‘middle or inner village’ and this represents well the inner creative world that I draw so heavily from. Japanese surnames are often made up from characters representing the everyday and nature, and this is what inspires me the most.


I find inspiration in everyday objects and scenes – the ones found in nature, in street photography, whilst simply walking and looking; and the connections between contemporary culture and tradition, particularly in Japan, where it can be found in the most unexpected places.


Sometimes illustrations or characters from my blog www.tokyomonogatari.com will also appear here.


You can follow little bits of my home life and garden on the Instagram feed @kikuhouse and see the things I make @bluebearvendingco.


All the artwork offered on this site is my own, original work and protected under copyright laws. Most of my pieces are one-off or part of a limited edition. The purchase of my work does not transfer reproduction rights and you may not reproduce, copy or share without permission.