studio visit momoca mexico city

Momoca transforms her dreams into paper objects
and paints on translucent papers,
drawing inspiration from her inner world
and the layers of memories from her travels.

Her creations blend artistry and wonder,
inviting viewers on an imaginative journey.

Through her work, altars emerge,
offering a portal to where creativity and imagination unite.
momoca, MOMOCA

Born and raised in Japan, Momoca began sewing at the age of six, designing dresses for her dolls, and in high school specialized in fashion design. Wanting to see other parts of the world, she left Japan and moved to California to study fine art. 

There, she explored millinery, fashion design, painting, ceramics, photography and graphic design, and upon graduation she opened her shop in Berkeley, California, where for ten years she sold her hats, clothings and artworks, while also collaborating with multiple brands, like the Adidas Concept Store, Vidal Sassoon, and Redbull. In 2006 she was recognized as the “Best San Francisco Fashion Designer.”

Momoca’s material of choice these days is paper. When the owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant, Alice Waters approached her to help with the Edible Schoolyard Project Fundraising Dinner, the idea of using paper came out of convenience, but she soon realized that her background in hat and cloth pattern making, as well as the Origami all Japanese children learn, had given her a set of valuable skills. In the years since, working with paper has become a passion. 

Her paper objects and installations are shown in art galleries around the world and their popularity has led to creating installations of paper flowers, fruits, and vegetables for clients such as Alice Waters (National Humanities Medal by Former President Obama), Evans Hankey (Vice President of Industrial Design, Apple), Stanlee Gatti (celebrity event decorator, client like Elton John), and Lisa Vorce (celebrity wedding planner, client like John Legend).  

Paper may be the most transcendental of materials – it has many different attributes and changes drastically depending on the substance with which it interacts. Despite its apparent restrictions and simplicity, the world of paper art is incredibly versatile and Momoca is exploring all of its various properties. 

Momoca is a permanent artist-in-residence at Noyers Sur Serein, Bourbogne, France, where she experiments with paper. Despite its apparent restrictions and simplicity, she finds it to be an incredibly versatile material, constantly discovering new forms of expression. 

Having painted throughout her life, Momoca has begun to explore painting on translucent paper, which she cuts into pieces and overlays to complete artworks.  She is attracted to the paper’s transparency because of its similarity to her experiences while traveling. One must possess an internal delicate, yet flexible quality – as the life of a traveler is uncertain. 

Through her work, she sees through what is in front of her and discerns what is underneath.  Painting is a way for her to digest and reflect on her memories of traveling, which she transfers onto paper, where they combine, overlap, and fade, becoming patterns of memory.

* The Conran Shop Daikanyama: Tokyo, Japan 2023

* Shozo Coffee Gallery: Tochigi, Japan 2023

* Paddlers Coffee Gallery: Tokyo, Japan 2023
*Tilia Cafe Galeria: Mexico City, Mexico 2023

*Loose Blues: Mexico City, Mexico 2022 

* The Crown: Oakland, CA USA 2019   
* La Porte Peinte: Bourgogne, France 2019

* Erica Tanov: Berkeley, CA USA 2019

* Dessin: Nakamegro Tokyo JAPAN 2018 
* Shozo Cafe Tonari Gallery: Kuroiso Tochigi Japan 2018  

* LE 102 Gallery : Paris France 2016

* Fanderskais, San Francisco: CA USA 2006   (group show)

* Anno Domini: San Jose, CA USA 2002    (group show)


*Tilia Cafe Galeria: Mexico City, Mexico : Cocoon, 2023

*Loose Blues: Mexico City, Mexico : Blossom Greeting, 2022 

La Porte Peinte: Bourgogne, France : Paper Installation Underwater Rainbow, 2019

Camino, Oakland CA USA : Paper Garland and Paper flowers installation 2018

Chez Panisse:  Berkeley, CA USA : Paper Wisteria Installation, 2018

 FOG Design+Art : Fort Mason San Francisco, CA USA Paper Flowers, 2017

La Porte Peinte : Bourgogne, France : Paper Plants Installation, 2017

Creative Growth Art Center : Oakland, CA : Stage Design for 2017

La Cornue : Paris, France : Paper Pumpkin Installation, 2017

Chez Panisse : Berkeley, CA USA : Paper Lemon Installation, 2017

 Chez Panisse : Berkeley, CA USA : Paper Radish Installation, 2016

* El Altar : Santa Elena, Honduras 2020,   33 x 10 feet    (10 x 3.3 meter)

* La Porte Peinte pour les Arts, Noyers Sur Serein, France 2019

* La Porte Peinte pour les Arts, Noyers Sur Serein, France 2017

* La Porte Peinte pour les Arts, Noyers Sur Serein, France 2016

* Best San Francisco Fashion Designer, 2006 by SF Weekly

* Chic-est Women’s Clothing Store, 2005  by East Bay Express

* Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising San Francisco (FIDM) 

* San Francisco Art Institute

* Adidas Concept Store, San Francisco – Clothing Design, 2008 ~ 2012

* Vidal Sasoon, San Francisco – Hair Show, Clothing Design, 2008

* Red Bull – San Francisco Gay Parade Civic Center Fashion show, Clothing Design, 2002


* Bombera, Oakland CA USA 2023

* Sawmill Studio, Oakland CA, USA 2022

* Online Workshop 2020

* Handcrafts Studio School, El Cerrito CA, USA, 2019

* Schole, Kamakura Japan, 2018

* Kushima, Tokyo, Japan, 2018

* Noma, Kyoto, Japan, 2018

* Handcrafts Studio School, El Cerrito CA 2017

* LE 102 Gallery, Paris France, 2017

* La Porte Peinte Art Center, Noyers Sur Serein, France, 2017

* Celery Space, Berkeley CA, USA, 2016

* T-Magazine (NY Times) October 2023 Issue 

* Sitruuna Magazine, Japan

* Vogue Japan Online Magazine, Japan  

* anan, Japan

* Soma Magazine, USA

* Seventeen Magazine, USA

* San Francisco Examiner, USA

* San Francisco Chronicle, USA

* 7 x 7 Magazine, USA

* East Bay Express, USA

* Bridge USA, USA

* Asian Weekly, USA


Santa Elena, Honduras, 2020 (Paper Flower and Mural)

* Ajrak Primary School, Gujarat, India 2018 (Origami and Japanese Culture)

Shozo Tonari-Gallery, Tochigi Japan, 2018 (Paper Flower Crown)

paper art
steps of momoca
Workshop momoca