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I am Lua Kobayashi, a California-based artist and UCLA graduate, receiving my B.A. in 2019. My work typically takes its form in photo, video, and installation - often combining all three. Through my practice, I am interested in the stories behind everyday objects, places and people, with which we all believe we are familiar; primarily utilizing my own experience within suburbia. Smiling neighbors, perfectly mowed lawns and endless rows of beautifully manicured homes - a seeming idyllic small town. However, growing up in a “perfect” suburb, showed me that this was anything but true. I never fit into my town, despite trying to dress, act and speak like those around me. I would never be included as I do not fit the regimented set of rules laid out by those who identify as “normal”; being a minority physically and inwardly. I was often left feeling like I was on the outskirts looking in; this led me to try to understand how everyone else lived their lives and how it was different from mine. What I found was the residents were hiding their true-selves, and within every home are lives made up of routines, relationships, gossip, crimes and more. This discovery fascinated me; we often dismiss or ignore the importance of the stories in front of us because they are a part of our everyday lives.  I focus on these hidden tales - dissecting the histories and truths behind them and why they always seem to fall to the wayside of the mundane. I fabricate miniature scenes/sets based on these kinds of anthologies; utilizing memories, rumors, history, imagination and the visual aesthetics and languages of films/television. Stories of, or about individuals are important because as more come together they form a history of a place, object or even another person. Through my work, I hope to understand why we are all consistently drawn to, live in, and accept these stories and structures; ultimately, looking for what truly lies beneath the facade and what really happens within.



  • One-Hundred, 2019, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

  • 7th International Open Call, 2019, Rhode Island Center For Photographic Arts, RI

  • Juried Photography Exhibit, 2019, Monmouth Museum, New Jersey

  • Prospectus, 2019, Palm Springs Art Museum, CA

  • Waterloo Photography Invitational, 2021, Photocentric, OH

  • ART IN THE TIME OF CORONA Vol 2. Dab Art Co., 2021, Los Angeles, CA

  • 30 Under 30, Viridian Artist Gallery, 2021, New York, NY

  • All Media 2021, Irvine Fine Arts Center, 2021, Irvine, CA

  • North x Northwest: Out of Isolation, Yellowstone Art Museum, 2021, Billings, MT

  • Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards, 2021/2022, New York, NY

  • All Media 2022, Irvine Fine Arts Center, 2022, Irvine, CA

  • Chasing Ghosts VII, Verum Ultimum Art Gallery, 2022, Online/Portland OR

  • Telling Stories, Shoebox Art Gallery, 2022, Online/Los Angeles, CA

Solo Exhibition

  • "Where a Forest Once Grew" Co-sponsored by the George and Sakaye Aratani CARE Award and UCLA Asian Studies Center, 2023 Westwood Village, Los Angeles, CA

Awards /Associations

  • Jeanne Ward Ceramic Scholarship Award from the American Ceramic Society Southern California 2018 - 2019

  • Artist Exhibition Council (ACE) Member 2019

  • UCLA Aratani C.A.R.E. Grant, 2021-2022

  • Honorable Mention, Passepartout International Photo Prize - Rome, Italy 2021

  • Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Award - New York 2021

  • Camera Obscura Artist In Resident - Santa Monica, California, May - Aug 2022

  • Chateau Orquevaux - Orquevaux, France, March 2023

  • (Upcoming) Aurora Photo Center Project Residency, Indianapolis, Indiana, 2023



  • UCLA alumna's pop-up gallery is a meditation on family, memory and American history', UCLA Newsroom, February 2023

  • 'Lua Kobayashi Celebrates Family Legacy and History Through Art Exhibit in Westwood', Century City/Westwood News, January 2023

  • 'Standout pieces': Irvine Fine Arts Center hosts return of 'All Media' exhibit, LA Times: Daily Pilot, July 2022


Related Experience:

  • Guest Artist, Oakwood High School Photography Class Workshop (January - April 2023), Los Angeles, CA

  • Guest Artist, "Look Again" Teen Art Class (2021)- Los Angeles County Museum of Art

  • Mentor & Guest Artist, Las Fotos Project (2021) - Los Angeles, CA

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