Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, coming to US to study in 1979, Coco Masuda is an illustrator, artist, graphic designer, artist's agent, and consultant based in Tribeca, New York City. In other words, it is difficult to define her. With the motherhood and the family circumstances, she had few detours in her creative career in the last 10 years or so, but now she is onto the new chapter in creating, collaborating, and helping others. She formed CoCollaborations, LLC in July, 2017.
Partial Client List:
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Saatchi & Saatchi
Simon & Schuster
St. Martin’s Press
The Harvard Common Press
The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
The Washington Post
United States Courts
I am influenced by:
A. M. Cassandre
among many others.
My favorite children’s book artist is Pierre Probst. I loved his “Caroline and her friends” series as a child, and still have the old originals with me.
In 2014, I was commission by Kaoru Kasai, a legendary creative director, to do a series of portrait for an advertising campaign for Itochu Corporation of Japan. The campaign won the grand prize for the prestigious Nikkei Advertising award in 2014. I worked on another campaign for them in 2015.
In March 2015, International Labor Organization (a part of United Nations) decide to use the illustration in my poster, which was originally done by for United Nations's "The Women’s Conference in Beijing", for The International Women’ Day. Then ILO commissioned Coco to design new poster for their Centenary Initiatives.
My illustration, "Equal Rights for Women" was featured in "Resist!", a newspaper distributed during The Women's March 2016.
2017 - present CoCollaborations, LLC, NY, Founder & Design Director
2004 - present Coco Masuda Studio, NY, Principal
2013 - 2015 Forex Japan, Tokyo, President
2012 - 2013 Onishi Project, NY, Managing Director
2007 Spring FIT, NY, Illustration Dept. Adjunct Professor
1992 - 2003 Freelance Illustrator
1988 - 1989 Cygnus Production, NY, Design Director
1986 - 1991 Quatorze Design, NY, Principal
1984 - 1986 David Curry Design, NY, Graphic Designer
1982 - 1984 Unit, NY, Partner
1983 Parsons School of Design, NY, BFA
My illustration style developed from that of a graphic designer who could draw using airbrush (flat and graphic), to a more painterly quality (not very popular), then back to the highly graphic style, but now done digitally. All through the different styles, my work has always been colorful, bright, and simple in composition sometimes with decorative details.
The decline of the illustration market, and the birth of my daughter almost coincided. My workaholic lifestyle no longer worked, and wanting to spend more time with her, I had to make adjustment.
In the fall of 2008, I started painting portraits and cityscapes as fine art in a totally different representational style, and had a solo show at Space Yui in Tokyo the following year to celebrate the 30th year of my coming to US.
With the entrepreneurial gene I inherited from my father, I had several business ventures:
Unit - Graphic T-shirts company
Quatorze Design - graphic design studio
Onishi Project - I helped found for Nana Onishi of Onishi Gallery
Forex Japan - a shipping and remittance company that I inherited after my father's sudden death, restructured and sold
Now with founding CoCollaborations, LLC, I am officially a rep of Japanese illustrators and calligraphers. I am excited to help other artists succeed and to work on interesting projects with them.
I hold the second degree in Japanese calligraphy, which I have been taking classes on and off since I was a child.
I never stop evolving as an artist, designer, or an entrepreneur. I want to keep up with the technology, too. Having a teenage daughter keeps my sensibility young and attune to the trends.