Coco Masuda illustrates, designs print material and responsive websites, and helps her clients, big and small, with all the knowledge with great patience. She also paints portraits and New York cityscapes as an artist. She was born in Tokyo, Japan, but have been a New Yorker since 1980. From June 2013 to the end of 2015, she had a bold stint in managing her late father's shipping and remittance business in Tokyo, but now back in the art and marketing business full time in New York.
" I learned to silkscreen while I was attending Parsons School of Design majoring in illustration, and I liked the flat and graphic quality of it. To achieve the same quality without the printmaking process, I started using airbrush and stencils. I started to create and sell graphic T-shirts with a friend, and we formed a company right after the graduation with three thousand dollars borrowed from my father. The business was really good and our T-shirts sold like hot cakes, first on the street, then to stores. So, we decided to present at a trade show, got so many orders including from Bloomingdale's, and we were totally overwhelmed. We didn't know how to fill the orders and the business failed. I learned that creative talent alone won't make one successful.
Then, I started working for a graphic designer, David Curry. It was a small studio and I was hired to sketch ideas, but David let me do more, and I learned so much at the studio, to which I am forever thankful. At the time, there was no computer! "
Her style developed from that of a graphic designer who could draw using an airbrush, to a more painterly quality, then back to the highly graphic style, but now done digitally. All through the different styles, her work has always been colorful, bright, and simple in composition sometimes with decorative details. In the fall of 2008, she started painting portraits and cityscapes in a totally different representational style, and it is once again adding another dimension to her work. In another word, she never stops evolving as an artist. Having a teenage daughter keeps Coco’s sensibility young and attune to the trends.
Coco has been influenced by A. M. Cassandre, Gustav Klimt, Modigliani, Magritte, Junichi Nakahara, Peter Sato, and Yumeji Takehisa. Her favorite children’s book artist is Pierre Probst. She loved his “Caroline and her friends” series as a child, and still has the old originals with her.
Over 2 decades of being an illustrator, Coco Masuda’s achievement continues: In 2014, she was commission to do a series of portrait for an advertising campaign for Itochu Corporation of Japan, and it won the grand prize for the prestigious Nikkei Advertising award in 2014. In March 2015, International Labor Organization (a part of United Nations) decide to use the illustration, which was originally done by Coco for the Women’s Conference in Beijing, for their posters for the International women’ Day.
Coco Masuda’s clients include: American Express, Crown Plaza, Discover, Estée Lauder, Marshall Field’s, Merck, Marriott, Perrier, Pfizer, Sony Music, Starbucks, Target, United Airlines, United Nations, United States Courts, Visa, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Seventeen, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wine Spectator, Chronicle Books, Penguin Putnam Inc., Random House, Simon & Schuster and St. Martin’s Press.
2004 - present
2012 - 2013
1992 - 2003
1988 - 1989
1986 - 1991
1984 - 1986
1982 - 1984
Coco Masuda Studio, NY, Principal
Onishi Project, NY, Managing Director
Fashion Institute of Technology, NY, Illustration Dept. Faculty
Cygnus Production, NY, Design Director
Quartorze Design, NY, Principal
David Curry Design, NY, Graphic Designer
Unit, NY, Partner (graphic T-shirts company)
Parsons School of Design, NY, BFA
Coco Masuda Studio
40 Harrison St Ste 33C
New York NY 10013 USA
Copyright © 2016 by Coco Masuda unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved.