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Thank you for visiting the Blue Bear Vending Company!


My name is Joanna - a UK based artist & illustrator, making drawings, watercolours and artworks using a combination of stamping, hand drawing and monotype printing, as well as illustrating digitally.  In the future I am hoping to develop some ceramic pieces, and am presently saving for a kiln and other workshop improvements.


Heavily influenced by my love for Japan, most of my hand printed/ drawn 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, and occasionally other colours will appear in the stamped prints.


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 country and culture. The characters for Nakamura [中村] literally mean ‘middle or in(side) 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.


My work takes inspiration from everything from nature to street photography and the connections between contemporary culture and tradition, particularly in Japan, where it can be found in the most unexpected places. It is quite common to come across press articles about Japan that say you can get almost anything from a Japanese vending machine and at the Blue Bear Vending Company, I like to explore this idea. Sometimes illustrations or characters from my blog at 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 prints/ paintings does not transfer reproduction rights of my work and you may not reproduce, copy or share without permission.