Nobu is a native of Tokyo, Japan. She never thought she would be an artist — she graduated with a degree in psychology from Waseda University in Tokyo and then went on to work for a major Japanese cosmetics company to do market research. While she is not classically trained, she always jokes that her psychology background helps her understand what people want to see in a painting.
She first moved to the United States in 1994 when she moved to Nashville, Tennessee, with her family because of her husband's job. However, she soon fell in love with American Folk Art and started studying decorative painting, a style that makes heavy use of patterns and is painted mostly on wooden surfaces. She didn't speak English very well and had two young sons ( 1 and 5 years old) at the time, but her 75-year-old teacher Rachel Stephans took her under her wing, and they remained very close until Rachel's death 14 years later. After returning to Japan in 1996, she continued to teach decorative painting.
She returned to the U.S. in 2000, this time to moving to South Bend, Indiana. Again, she studied decorative painting with local artists. She painted on tin, wood and furniture, among other things, and her works at the Country Sampler Store in Arlington Heights, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, made her one of the best-selling painters at the store. She gradually began to paint on canvases on the recommendation of a boardmember of the museum at the University of Notre Dame.
She moved with her family to Darien, Connecticut, in 2003, where she established her art business and her unique Modern Folk Art style. Since then, Nobu has painted scenes of the New England countryside and the towns of Darien and New Canaan in Connecticut, and many of her paintings are in private and public collections. She has designed the cover of the Darien Parks & Recreation Department brochure since 2008, and many local nonprofits have used her works to raise money. She has established herself as one of the most recognizable and beloved artists in Darien.
Nobu has been commissioned by many to paint house portraits, and in addition, she has launched a line of dog portraits, inspired by her labradoodle, Princess Fiona.