Bay Area Asian American Women Street Artists You Should Know

Who run the Bay? Women street artists!

by: Elisa Gyotoku

The Bay Area is one of the top places in the world for street art.  With its vibrant inhabitants and community driven values, street art has proven to be one of the main forms of expression of the Bay Area’s personality.  From depictions of the struggles of everyday life to traditional folklore, street art’s ability capture the personal experiences of its artists whilst having a very public display is what makes it communal.  Check out these local women artists who are running the Bay Area street art world!


photo credit: Alexander H. Banach

Erin Yoshi’s art showcases the contradictions of life by amplifying both the beautiful and the ugly.  Taking up photography at the tender age of 7, she has been influenced by her family and their deep cultural and political experiences, particularly during the Japanese internment camps of WWII.  Yoshi’s work can be seen sprawling on walls all over San Francisco and Oakland including 11th Street and Folsom, Cypress Alley and 24th Street, and International Boulevard and 2nd Street.  As a member of the Trust Your Struggle Collective and the Interim Director of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, she continues to advocate for the arts in hopes of inspiring and engaging future generations.



Bay Area artist Cece Carpio has produced and exhibited work from the Philippines to Norway and back to the US.  She paints stories of immigration, ancestry and the pliancy of life.  Using folklore, fearless portraits and natural elements, Cece conveys her subjects striving for a more dignified existence.  One of her most significant murals is on the FilipinoEducation Center at 4th and Harrison.  Also a fellow member of the Trust Your Struggle Collective, she was awarded a residency with KulArts in San Francisco, the premier presenter of contemporary and tribal Pilipino arts in the US.  Cece continues to paint internationally while always finding a way back to the walls of the Bay Area.



Bay Area native Elaine Chu’s work is crawling all over San Francisco’s walls. A graduate of Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Chu has her name on murals ranging from 25th Street and Orange Alley, 24th Street and Potrero and Argonne Elementary in the Outer Richmond.  As a co-founder of Twin Walls Mural Company, she continues to help beautify the city with color and support fellow artists with community outreach.



Berkeley native Nisha Sembi’s artwork is focused on the juxtaposition of self-expression and social change.  Nisha has combined Indian culture with hip-hop culture and created a new avenue of expression called “kalakari” or artistry, through which she has been curating new art, digital  projects, and apparel design that challenge traditional boundaries and brings to the surface a “fresh and eclectic urban/cultural aesthetic.”  She has created Kalakari Collective from this project, which offers various forms of design and expression.  Nisha is currently working on several projects that will take her Bay Area finesse around the globe.


Erin Yoshi and Cece Carpion will be our lead muralists for our Mural Muses project coming to San Francisco this summer. But for now, check out the details on our campaign page.


Bay Area Asian American Women Street Artists You Should Know — 11 Comments

  1. Thank you for this opening of mind and possibilities. I am not an Asian woman and I don’t live in the Bay Area but I love the idea of women contradicting our illusions and creating new possibilities of expression for those who haven’t thought outside the box. Open the box, fly.

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