Born and raised in a small west Texas town, Akiko was called “Aki”, because her child peers could not pronounce Akiko. She grew up with an artistic Japanese mother and an engineer father of German/Swiss Irish descent. Many afternoons were spent in her father’s shop where he created miniature train sets, electronic light-up jewelry and worked on "fancy" cars. Akiko's mother was a painter and she often took Akiko to her painting classes when Akiko was as young as four years old.
Akiko was influenced not just by her parents, but also by her Swiss/Irish grandmother who loved to bake. Perched on the kitchen counter, Akiko would add ingredients into the stand mixer and her grandmother would adjust the recipe so the baking would come out just right. This grandmother also first introduced Akiko to books. These books occupied Akiko during those long hot Texas summers, as well as her regular family journeys to Japan.
In college, Akiko traveled to Europe and took a summer course abroad in Innsbruck, Austria. She studied art history and visited many famous art museums. Akiko eventually received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the San Antonio Art Institute. Following graduation, she worked as a professional illustrator and graphic designer. She also taught digital and traditional illustration as an adjunct professor. But eventually, she discovered her true artistic love and passion, cakelustration!
In 2014, Akiko won the prestigious Tomie dePaola children’s book award with an illustration made with cake! And although Akiko has been baking for many years, she didn’t become an actual professional cake artist until 2015, after winning “a best in show” at the That Takes the Cake show in Austin, Texas. These awards set her career in a focus. She decided to create illustrations using sugar as her medium. Although she enjoys making cakes for special events, her true passion lies in creating stories out of sugar. Her unique ability to bring a story to life with her imaginative and inventive 3D techniques brings many layers to her art and stories.
Presently, Akiko is enjoying life on her farm in the Texas hill country, and she gathers inspiration from her past, her children, and the many animals that reside on their property.