A red bird woman and a grey sheep woman embrace, eyes closed. Red, the bird-woman, is crying tears of relief and joy. Behind them, a giant book with text in fantastical letters splays out diagrams of plants. The couple are surrounded by scrolls, books, Re + Enlarge
Reunited 2019 Gouache and colored pencil on wood canvas
A painting of a portly, pleased-looking physically disabled male deity sits on a carp, holding a fishing rod. Two fish and a sea turtle swim by. + Enlarge
Ebisu 2020 Gouache, colored pencil and ink on wood board 8.5 x 11
A red bird-woman holding a glowing plant peers into a cave with bat-like creatures and stalagmites/stalagtites. There are cave paintings on the walls with a bird-like figure, and strange flowers on the cave floor. + Enlarge
Illumination 2019 Gouache and colored pencil on wood board
A red bird-woman sleeps soundly next to a campfire kept in a mug. She is surrounded by tree-like growths, a stone path and orange gels containing gemstones. It is nighttime, and there is a circle of light from the campfire. + Enlarge
Respite 2019 Gouache and colored pencil on wood board
A painting depicting a female goddess manipulating the red string of fate in a cave amidst giant worms. + Enlarge
Izanami no Mikoto 2020 Gouache and ink on wod board 8.5 x 11

Kiyohiro Nishio is an illustrator who specializes in gouache and digital illustration. They have a passion for history, especially the ancient and prehistoric kind. Kiyohiro takes delight and inspiration from plants and nature, as well as archaeological sites. They have dug at an archaeological site in Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia. They are also a researcher in the fields of Japanese religion, especially Shinto, and pre-Hellenistic Greek beliefs. They are currently majoring in Illustration and minoring in Culture and Politics at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, writing their senior thesis paper on immigrant kami in Shinto. Their Illustration senior thesis is a series of narrative paintings about a bird woman’s lonely journey to find an herbal tome guarded in a distant library by her love interest, a librarian. They love to illustrate historical themes and cute animals, partly thanks to their pet cat Teris, with whom they live in Baltimore, Maryland. They also live with three roommates and a cluster of herbs. Kiyohiro is ordained through the Universal Life Church, and has a popular blog on the topic of reconstructionist Greek paganism. They are deeply interested in revisiting Shinto and Buddhism as a means of decolonialization and ancestral healing. My second semester of Senior Thesis, I decided to paint illustrations depicting Japanese "kami" (worshipped spirits) who are not as well known in the West, in ways that honor their diversity. These are the first 2 paintings. The rest of the paintings are excerpts from a series of narrative paintings follows the bird-woman Red on her journey through loneliness and fantastical environments to find a distant book about Herbalism, kept safe by her girlfriend Molly.