Hanako O’Leary was born and raised by her Japanese mother and American father. She grew up roaming the suburbs of Chicago. Every year, for 2 months during the summer holiday, her mother would take her and her siblings back to their ancestral home in Hiroshima, Japan. These summers were spent learning how to cook, clean, and honor her ancestors from her four aunts, Nagako, Nobuko, Atsuko, and Masako. Hanako attended this annual pilgrimage until the year she turned 18 and these summer months would deeply influence her spiritual beliefs, artistic voice, and feminine ideals.
Spending most of her life on American soil, but always under a Japanese matriarchy, Hanako learned to bridge these identities through art, employing traditional Japanese imagery to narrate her current American story.
Hanako has received an extensive arts education within institutional walls and beyond. She exists through her hands. Thus she has had many a love affair with a range of tactile artistic mediums. She is currently building her ceramic series, Izanami, as a resident artist at Seward Park Clay studio.