Kumiko S. McKee was born in Japan and has been living in the United States since 1994. Today she is based in both the U.S.A.and Japan. She has a BFA degree in painting from the U.S.A. She opened her art studio and online gallery in 2003.
Kumiko started her career working as a designer and focusing on display designs for major department stores in Tokyo. Here she learned valuable skills in creating display designs for show windows. Some of the displays included designs for products such as "Yves Saint Laurent", "Sonia Rykiel", "Jean Paul Gaultter", "Ferre", "Luciano Soprani", "Paco Rabanne", "Persol" and "Fiorucci".
As a young child, she used to draw a lot and particularly enjoyed drawing female portraits. Her paintings were often selected for shows and received numerous awards in the school years. At fifteen, she began studying art as a fine art major at a Private High School where she learned the basic techniques and knowledge of art. Her interest in oil painting grew after trying it for the first time when she was sixteen.
After moving to the United States, she studied art in the University as a fine art major. She received the Robert D. Coe Fine Arts Scholarship and was granted membership to the Golden Key International Honor Society. While attending the University, she would also work on her own projects independently from painting classes. During this period, her work was recognized and received numerous honors including the First Place Award for two consecutive years and the A&S Dean's Award at the Annual juried exhibition.
Beyond her own art, she dreamed of traveling to see other cultures and the diversity of art in the world, especially in Europe, and to see the great artworks of the old masters along with the ruins of cities long since past that she had studied in art history. She planned to travel the world only with a backpack and made this dream a reality before moving to the United States. She traveled in England, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, West and East Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal from 1990 to 1991 for nearly 16 months. It was an invaluable opportunity for her to learn local cultures and the many arts of the world and at the same time it gave her opportunity to re-appreciate her own culture and Japanese art. Art transcends culture. Her challenge is to show the beautiful elements of Japanese culture with the images in a way that people from other cultures can appreciate and make a connection with. Through viewing her paintings, the viewer gains a glimpse into a world they may know little about.
Today, she is working on a series of oil paintings that combine Western and Japanese traditions based on Japanese culture. She hopes her artwork will help people in the world to better understand and bring interest to the Japanese culture as well as the diversity and depth of Asian-Pacific culture.