Noriko Sakanishi discovered art while a student at Westbrook Jr. College (now the University of New England) and went on to study at the Portland School of Art (now the Maine College of Art & Design). She majored in sculpture and began her professional career carving wood and stone. After developing a severe shoulder problem which forced her to give up carving, she focused on two-dimensional work before gradually inventing a way of creating wall constructions with lighter materials. She lives and works in Portland, Maine.