Keiro email interviewed a couple of past participants to hear about their experience with last year’s showcase and share about their passion for creating art!

Rick osaka

Name: Rick Osaka, 66

Rick was a commercial artist in Los Angeles and New York City. Before retiring, he was an art instructor at Pasadena City College and now devotes his time fully to make art independently.

How did you get interested in art?
I have drawn since childhood. It was a creative activity that I really liked. I have been in the art and design field professionally for over 40 years.  I’m old and I’m lucky to have art in my life!

Through the Mist
Through the Mist – Rick Osaka

What was the story or intention behind the art you submitted last year?
I just chose something that I had done earlier and thought the artwork was appropriate for the theme. This is a symbolic bridge between the East and West. It was also about concentration through the repetitive drawing of lots of tiny lines. My motivation to create art is complex. My spirit motivates my daily practice to keep creating. It’s simply a need to seek beauty through intelligence and make beauty through paint. 

How did you feel participating in the arts showcase?
My sister-in-law told me about the first Showcase. It was nice. Participating in a virtual manner is understandable under the circumstances. I make handmade art, and so it will be very nice to showcase our work in a face to face manner when it’s safe. In the meantime, your virtual Showcase is a positive thing all around. Good job Keiro! 

Name: Virginia Suzuki, 87

Virginia enjoys quilting in her free time. She learned quilting from one of the best quilt instructors in the world and has shared her talent by donating her quilts to community organizations, as well as underserved populations.

How did you start quilting?
Without instructions, I started quilting in 1970 by making tabards for my daughter and her cousins. I made small quilts with bright, intense colors and fashioned them like futons. We moved to London for 2 ½  years, and I studied antique quilts in the museums.

In returning to the U.S., I decided to learn how to piece quilts. My instructor was Jinny Beyer who is now the among the best quilt instructors in the world. I designed, drafted, and made my first pieced quilt with embroidered Japanese “mons” in the four corners. The quilt was published in two books and was aired on PBS. From 1980 to today, I have made many pieced quilts. The first ones were hand-pieced and hand-quilted. Now I mostly machine-piece.

Peonies – Virginia Suzuki

What was the story or intention behind the art you submitted last year?
The submitted quilt was to be a laptop quilt for me. It is hand-pieced and hand-appliqued. A professional quilter finished the three layers (top, bottom and batting) on her machine for me. The quilt took over one year to make. As it was completed just before the Showcase, I hoped it would inspire others to study and try quilting.

How did you feel participating in the arts showcase?
After the Showcase, by chance, I received an inquiry about making a copy of the quilt. I have been contributing quilts to events benefiting the homeless, wildfire victims, and the California indigenous people as well as to Continuing Education for the Nikkei Widowed, Inc. There is much joy in giving quilts away.

The showcase was an avenue to recognize that seniors have a strong need to create. The product of the creative spirit also includes a connectedness instead of working alone. Art is vital and the common thread between people and between cultures. Congratulations to Keiro for providing the Showcase!

Keiro and JACCC will host the Keiro no Hi Arts Showcase once again! This year, our theme is “Oiwai – Celebration.” Consider participating in our Virtual Fine Arts Showcase to have your art featured during the Keiro no Hi Festival!

For more information on how to submit your art and submission criteria, please visit