Biography

Born in Tokyo, Japan Mariko Tabar developed a passion for oil painting in childhood. Working primarily in oils, her lush, detailed depictions of florals, architectural landscapes and marine life evoke the vivid colors, rich textures, and bold lines of the world around her.  

Mariko grew up in Tokyo at a time when the city was still recovering from the scars of war. Mariko’s childhood was influenced by the blend of bustling city life and vivid nature. Young Mariko loved playing outside, picking wildflowers, staring at cloud formations, and day dreaming. Mariko’s childhood experiences exploring her environment have made a lasting impact on the shapes, forms, hues, and shades of nature she depicts in her work today.   

Mariko was also influenced by the numerous school trips to art museums and the valuable guidance received from her high school art teacher, Mr. Toyoji Maruno. Mr. Maruno encouraged Mariko’s unique style of blending bright colors on canvas and as a result, Mariko developed a passion and love for the rich texture and ease of blending colors achieved by oil paints.

Mariko also enjoys tending to her garden, which brings back her fond memories of childhood in the fields of Japan. Gardening offers her many ideas, inspiration, and opportunities to observe plant life and floral images that occupy large portions of her recent “Inspirational Series”. Mariko incorporates her own inspirational expressions into realistic images using fine but slightly distorted lines and bright colors. Mariko also acknowledges that her Japanese roots influence her detailed presentations similarly found in the Japanese arts of food preparations, tea ceremonies, wood block painting, Kiri-e cut papers, and Cloisonne.

Mariko came to Southern California to attend college and earned Bachelor of Fine Arts with emphasis in Studio Art from Loyola Marymount University. This was a period of searching and learning new approaches to her artistry to discover where her true interests lie. After graduation, she kept painting but it was when she started teaching art to young children that she rediscovered her passion for painting. Through teaching and guiding her students, Mariko developed a concept of not limiting her capacity to a certain classified style of technique but rather stay true to her own expressive style. This transformative experience opened the door for her to continue developing and experimenting forms, techniques, and styles that you see in her work today. As a result, a significant personal style has evolved in Mariko’s works. 

In June, 2006, Mariko was invited to show her paintings at Gallery Copaind Art in the prestigious Kyobashi district near Ginza, Japan.  This opportunity boosted Mariko’s confidence as an artist and gave her an opportunity to step into a realm as a professional artist.  Since then she has had three solo shows at the Gallery Copaind Art.  In March, 2008, Mariko was juried into the Santa Barbara Art Association and holds its membership to present day. Through the Santa Barbara Art Association, Mariko has participated in group shows and as a featured artist. Mariko has also been chosen as a featured artist for a in February, 2019 exhibit and solo exhibit opportunity in March, 2020. 

In July, 2017, Mariko was appointed as a Santa Barbara County Second District Art Commissioner, serving to connect the local government, community and community artists.  From early on in Mariko’s life, she has been an advocate for promoting peace, human rights, and social justice issues. With her passion for promoting basic human rights, Mariko’s next endeavor is to complete a new “Social Justice Series” on canvas.