Artist Studio

About Artist Studio

MGM Resorts International has long recognized the power of art to evoke emotion, engage the senses and spark conversation. In an effort to expand our commitment, we have created the Artist Studio at Bellagio. The Artist studio invites national and international artists to live and work in Las Vegas while creating a commissioned artwork for the MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection. Featured in the studio is a guest lounge where visitors are invited to witness the artists at work, speak with them, view their artist catalogs and learn more about their artistic practice. The Artist Studio is located adjacent to Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art and is free for all guests.

Current Artist

Takashi Kunitani

March 2020 – April 2020

Kyoto-based artist Takashi Kunitani was invited to the Artist Studio to produce a large-scale wall installation for the MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection. During his residency, Kunitani will create an artwork that relates to an ongoing series of installations comprised of multiple neon tubes that he deforms with his own breath. Through this breathing process, Kunitani expands the internal volume of the glass tube, blurring the boundary between the inside and outside of the sculpture. In these installations, viewers see the chemical elements neon and argon captured within the multilateral, transparent surface of the sculpture. He says of his works, “I create my neon pieces by blowing into heated glass tubes. They come to possess the organic rippling form as the result of my breath. They are all unique. I consider them as the sculpture of breath.” Takashi Kunitani was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1974 and graduated from Seian University of Art and Design in Shiga Prefecture, Japan in 1997, where he studied under Norio Imai, one of the prominent Japanese Gutai artists. Kunitani’s works have been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions, including: Multidimensional, Gallery PARC, Kyoto, Japan (solo, 2019); Spaceless Space, Ulterior Gallery, New York, NY (solo, 2018); Takashi Kunitani: Deep Projection, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Hyogo, Japan (solo, 2015); Two Passages, Nuit Blanche Kyoto 2012, Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto, Japan (2012); Today’s Artist 48: Takashi Kunitani—The Vertical Horizon, Osaka Contemporary Art Center, Osaka, Japan (solo, 2007); Criterium 54: Takashi Kunitani, Art Tower Mito, Ibaraki, Japan (solo, 2003). He lives and works in Kyoto, Japan.

Past Artists


December 2019 – January 2020

Tokyo-based artist Sisyu was invited to the Artist Studio to produce a large-scale painting for the MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection. During her residency, Sisyu will create a painting titled Phoenix. Based on an age-old tale of a woman encountering the legendary bird on the peak of Mt. Kailash in Tibet, a known sanctuary for Buddhism and Hinduism. Rising to the heavens, the phoenix was said to be larger than the mountain itself. Coupled with calligraphy characters Sisyu’s Phoenix will reenact its ascension from the tale. Born in Japan, she dedicated herself to creation ever since she started “Sho” (calligraphy) at the age of six. She then moved to Tokyo and started her professional career as a calligrapher. Known for incorporating Japanese calligraphy into other art forms such as sculptures, digital media, and painting, her latest artwork adds calligraphy etched in iron and glass to her oeuvre. Her work continues to evolve to utilize sculpture, light and shadow as a medium. Through this work, Sisyu symbolizes the Japanese soul of “Zen” and sends the traditional work of calligraphy, “Sho,” into the new age with new perspectives. Known for pushing the boundaries and conventions of traditional artform, Sisyu’s work has been officially recognized by the Japanese government for her contributions to artistic and cultural production. With an exhibition history including the 2011 Venice Biennale, her artwork has placed Japanese calligraphy in conversation with a global cultural audience.

Yasuaki Onishi

September 2019 – November 2019

Osaka-based artist Yasuaki Onishi was invited to the Artist Studio to produce a sculpture for the MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection. During his residency, Onishi will draw on the practices he learned as an art student to create a large-scale permanent sculpture that engages with nature and negative space through materiality and a process he calls “casting the invisible.” Utilizing a locally sourced tree as the foundation of his sculpture, Onishi will build a steel exoskeleton around the tree’s branches using a special welding and burning process. The resulting work is strikingly bare and intentionally empty, reminding the viewer of the process of the work’s creation. 

Yasuaki Onishi is an internationally celebrated artist working in the mediums of installation, sculpture and painting. Onishi studied sculpture at University of Tsukuba and Kyoto City University of Arts, Japan. His work has been exhibited in solo shows at institutions across Japan and abroad, such as at The Wilfrid Israel Museum in Hazorea, IL and at the Aichi Prefectural Museum in Nagoya, JP. Onishi was also included in Ways of Worldmaking in 2011 at the National Museum of Art, Osaka. The artist’s work has appeared in numerous group exhibitions at institutions such as Riverside Art Museum, Beijing, CN (2019), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, DK (2018), Neues Museum, Nuremberg, DE (2017), Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah, UAE (2016), Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, JP (2014), The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, RU (2013). In 2010, Yasuaki was the recipient of a United States-Japan Foundation Fellowship that included a residency at the Vermont Studio Center, as well as a grant from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Inc., New York.

Image courtesy of the artist and ARTCOURT Gallery.

Parker Ito

April 2019 – June 2019

Los Angeles-based artist Parker Ito was invited to the Artist Studio to produce a series of five new artworks for the MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection. Over the past three years, Ito has progressed a body of work that references traditional still-life painting, but reimagines these with his own experimental and highly personal processes. These paintings begin with an image he has captured with an outdated digital camera from the view of his living room. During his stay with MGM Resorts, his vantage point will shift to using the Las Vegas landscape as a backdrop and MGM Resorts destinations as inspiration, including Bellagio, Signature at MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay. The selection of foregrounded objects in these paintings and the composition are inspired by a genre of Dutch still-life painting called vanitas, which featured young blooms, decomposing flowers, consumables, decorative objects and so on. Drawing subtle, yet intentional references to his Japanese heritage, Ito’s composed objects invite visitors to question the dynamic between material and image in the increasingly digital age.

Parker Ito is a fourth generation Japanese American, or Yonsei ( 四世 ), living and working in Los Angeles. Ito’s work takes the form of installation, painting, sculpture, video, drawing, websites and printmaking. Materially inventive and heavy with processes that might corrupt or enhance, he produces impressions of the things around him. Ito assembles cultural markers, ornaments, vistas and consumables. He pushes these arrangements through technologies —including screens, cameras, printers, hand-painting—and the atmospheric effects of these processes behave like the binding substance of the artist’s consciousness. Bracing all of the artist’s output is the structure of the network. Ito gives focus to the specific conditions of making and exhibiting art, as well as the extended network that his practice traces.

Image courtesy of the artist and Chateau Shatto.

Kisho Mwkaiyama

June 2018 – January 2019

Japanese artist Kisho Mwkaiyama was invited to the Artist Studio to produce a series of artworks titled Vendarta 100: Six Elements and the Seasons for the MGM Resorts Fine Art Collection. Born in Osaka, Japan, Mwkaiyama spent his childhood on Mount Koya, known as one of the most prominent locations of esoteric Buddhist temples. As a child, he found himself enticed by the tranquil environment of his surroundings and the Buddhist art that existed within it. This experience led Mwkaiyama to concern himself with the fundamental presence of light. His series of works on canvas titled Lunar, beautifully captured the fleeting faintness of natural light to create works that transformed in correspondence to the surrounding atmosphere. Mwkaiyama has stated that, "The abstract light of the soul is an invisible material that breathes together with life while kaleidoscopically repeating its radiance ... My works convey the prayer that dwells within the soul enveloped by the body."

Image courtesy of the artist and Yutaka Kikutake Gallery.