Born in Los Angeles CA, Jon Nakamura was raised in an immigrant Japanese American family of six. His mother who ran a Buddhist ministry in Los Angeles, had an enormous influence on his life. After graduating from Fairfax High School, Nakamura worked as a line cook at a popular Italian restaurant. He later attended Otis Parsons where he earned a BFA in Photography in 1993. He then worked as a color separator for a high end silk screen studio for two years. After being awarded an artist’s grant from Philip-Morris, Nakamura earned an MFA in Studio Arts from CalArts in 1997. After graduating he traveled around the Western United States on bicycle.