Wendy Yoshimura works in watercolor paintings and fine-art prints. She “paint[s] the subtle moments when clear morning light illuminates flower petals, fruit, and glass. These instants touch . . . [her] deeply — but they’re gone in a flash.”

Yoshimura is an artist currently residing in North Oakland. She teaches watercolor painting at her studio and at a San Francisco community center. Her still-life watercolor paintings are often displayed in the SF Bay Area.

Wendy was born in the Manzanar Japanese Internment Camp on January 17, 1943. After their release, her family moved to Japan and then returned to the United States in 1956, whereupon Wendy was assigned to second grade as a thirteen-year-old. But she gained fluency in English and graduated from high school. She went on to attend the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, which is now the California College of the Arts, in 1965 and worked briefly as a commercial artist. 

Wendy was exposed to art at a young age, breaking barriers and resisting the government to fight for what she knew, in her mind, was right. “Wendy had won an award in high school for a painting — her parents sent her to the College of Arts and Crafts. She later lived in a woman artists’ collective, freelanced for an advertising firm and gained a reputation for her feminist and antiwar posters” (Armstrong). As she began her career, she started to experiment with watercolors, which eventually led to her teaching at the California College of Arts and Crafts.

Wendy is more infamously known for her involvement in the left-wing Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), which kidnapped heiress Patricia Hearst in 1974. In a trial funded in part by Japanese Americans who sympathized with her internment, Wendy was convicted of explosives and weapons charges and served a half-year jail sentence.

After these legal troubles, Wendy made a promise to give back to the community and tell her story. Wendy wanted to be known for more than being a fugitive; she wanted her supporters to get a sense of who she is and what she represents through her artistic expression.


  • You can find Wendy at any East Bay art festival and at coffee shops near the California College of the Arts (5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618). You may also find her at local art exhibits where she may show her new work to the community to bring funding into her school to continue the arts program.

~ by Jada Ross ~

External Links:

Armstrong, Lois. “Wendy Yoshimura Emerges from the Shadows of the Patty Hearst Case.” People, 6 Oct. 1975, https://people.com/archive/wendy-yoshimura-emerges-from-the-shadows-of-the-patty-hearst-case-vol-4-no-14/.

Niiya, Brian. “Wendy Yoshimura.” Densho Encyclopedia, http://encyclopedia.densho.org/Wendy_Yoshimura/.

“Wendy Yoshimura.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Dec. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendy_Yoshimura.

Yoshimura, Wendy. “Wendy Yoshimura Watercolor Paintings Fine Art Prints.” http://www.wendyyoshimura.com/pages1/home.html.

Photo Credits:

Wong, Nancy. American painter Wendy Yoshimura in 1976, Piedmont, California. Wikimedia.org, Wikimedia Commons, 1976, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wendy_yoshimura_in_1976.jpg.

—. Wendy Yoshimura, 1976. Wikimedia.org, Wikimedia Commons, 1976, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wendy_Yoshimura,_1976.jpg.

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