Nancy Enkoji is a third generation Japanese American, born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Mabel and Renso Enkoji. Her grandparents were Eizo and Miyoshi Jingu who lived and worked at the Japanese Tea Garden, San Antonio Texas. Though Nancy was raised primarily in California, her artistic influence runs deep in the heart of Texas! Her grandfather painted, her mother is a ceramic artist and though not traditional, their art reflects their Japanese heritage and Texan influence.
The history of the Japanese Tea Garden was always a foundation in her family and as the City of San Antonio turned their attention to the historical value and restoration of the Tea Garden, the Jingu family members were excited to participate in any means possible. Nancy’s drawings and paintings reflect her tie to the Japanese Tea Garden, it’s natural beauty and homage to her ancestors who lived in San Antonio.
It was said that Eizo Jingu installed paintings of the Four Seasons in ceiling of the the main room of their Tea Garden home. He had framed the doors, windows and these paintings with split bamboo from the garden. Unfortunately, there are no photographs of these paintings in existence. In 2012, Nancy was commissioned by the San Antonio Parks Foundation to create her version of the Four Seasons series of paintings for installation at the Japanese Tea Garden in 2013.
Here is what Nancy says when asked about her artistic inspiration, “When I get an idea for a painting, it starts out with a single idea and blossoms into a story and continues to evolve as I paint or draw. Each of my paintings have personal stories and dreams embedded in the images. I hope that you have additional stories and dreams created as you view my artwork. The ties to San Antonio can then continue in strength for the future Jingu generations.”