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I am Lua Kobayashi, a California-based artist and UCLA graduate. My work typically takes its form in photo, video, and installation - often combining all three. As an artist of Japanese-American and Uruguayan descent, I explore the narratives embedded within objects, places, and people, particularly focusing on the stories individuals leave behind. Growing up in a predominantly white suburbia, I felt like an outsider, prompting me to delve into why this was. It led me to uncovering the hidden stories behind seemingly perfect facades as everything was not as perfect as it seemed. The residents within the town chose to show the ideal versions of themselves - smiling faces and facades at every turn but the truth was anything but. I delved into local history and closely examined the community, uncovering hidden stories and lives within every home. This exploration, along with investigating my heritage and understanding my place within the community, significantly shaped my approach to creating artwork. I firmly believe that hidden stories exist in every place, contributing to a genuine portrait of each location.


My practice is dedicated to unraveling these kinds of intricate stories within communities, recently I have had a particular emphasis on Japanese-Americans and familial lineages. Fueled by a profound curiosity about history, culture, and my own heritage, I strive to understand both myself and the stories of my ancestors. I am committed to shedding light on little-known narratives and the multifaceted lives shaped within the American landscape. I draw inspiration from my Grandmother's journey as a Japanese-American Nisei; Through my interest in Japanese-American experiences across the United States, I aim to illuminate the shared experiences and cultural histories that bind us together as a community.



  • Backyard Exhibitions, Not Real Art, 2024, Online

  • Architecture, Interiors, and Urban Landscapes, Not Real Art, 2023, Online

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

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

  • All Media 2022, Irvine Fine Arts Center, 2022, 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 2021, Irvine Fine Arts Center, 2021, Irvine, CA

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

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

  • Waterloo Photography Invitational, 2021, Photocentric, OH

  • Prospectus, 2019, Palm Springs Art Museum, CA

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

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

  • One-Hundred, 2019, University of California, 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

  • Aurora Photo Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, September 2023

  • Chateau D'Orquevaux Artist Residency, Orquevaux, France, March 15 - April 15 2023

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

  • UCLA Aratani C.A.R.E. Grant, 2021

  • Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Award - New York 2021

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

  • Jeanne Ward Ceramic Scholarship Award from the American Ceramic Society Southern Cali-

  • fornia 2018 - 2019

  • Artist Exhibition Council (ACE) Member 2019



  • Creat-Hear Lua Kobayashi Podcast, WQRT 99.1 FM Indianapolis, IN, November 2023

  • 'Meet Lua Kobayashi', Shoutout LA, July 2023 

  • 'Daily Inspiration: Meet Lua Kobayashi', Voyage LA, March 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:

  • Teaching Artist, 826LA@Hammer Workshop, Hammer Museum (April 2023) -Los Angeles, CA

  • Guest Artist - Undergraduate Photo Class, Indiana University (Sept 2023) - Bloomington, IN

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

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

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

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