Lady Aiko

Lady Aiko (also AIKO, born Aiko Nakagawa in 1975) is a Japanese street artist based in Brooklyn, New York In the contemporary art world AIKO is among the most important female street artists from this millennium In a largely male-dominated form of art, AIKO is becoming an influential figure in contemporary street art

Lady Aiko lived and worked in New York City since the mid 90’s She received a BFA at Tokyo Zokei University in the field of graphic design and filmmaking, before taking her MFA at The New School, NY graduating with honors in Media Studies

Her work in film has been highly influential on Urban Pop; she directed the seminal digital biography on Takashi Murakami, Super Flat [1998] and ran his studio in Brooklyn long before he was internationally known In 2008 she collaborated with Banksy, posing as a Japanese tourist and taking the now famous pictures of him doing unauthorized installations at MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Natural History Museum and The Met which catapulted that artist to fame and was later used in his Academy Award winning documentary “Exit Through The Giftshop”

“It’s hard being a girl and a graffiti artist”, she sighs, but continues to make bold artworks that rival Banksy Known for her ability to combine western art movements and eastern technical artistic skills, she is highly respected for her large scaled work that have been installed in many cities all over the world including Rome, Italy, Shanghai, China and Brooklyn, New York

Aiko’s work is inspired by 18th-century Japanese woodblock printing and has been described as “joyfully, subversively feminine” Her solo artwork on canvas uses a bricolage technique, incorporating spray paint, stenciling, brushwork, collage, and serigraphs She is inspired by New York neighborhoods and advertising, bringing imagery from Chinatown and Times Square in the form of old signs, billboards, and neon signs Aiko is heavily inspired by her identity and experiences as a Japanese woman Through her work she brings visibility and recognition to women and girls as well as gender inequality in grafifti and street art Aiko enjoys creating art that is beautiful, full of love, and can be shared with anyone Images related to romantic moments, kisses, and lover are the dominant theme in her work, with subjects always being about everyday life’s sexy girls ,lovers, and the romantic stories Another influence to her work is the process of making For Aiko, it is the uncertainty and difficulties of large scale street art that make the work more interesting than art made in the studio

Aiko Nakagawa was born in 1975 and raised in the central area of Tokyo She attended an all-girl high school While she was in college in Tokyo, she created a pirate television station that broadcast her own music videos and short films The broadcast could be picked up within a three-kilometer radius and generated some local press coverage before the government sent her a letter ordering her to desist In the mid-1990s, she moved to New York City where she apprenticed in artist Takashi Murakami’s Brooklyn studio Her and Muramaki’s work are similar by their incorporation of Japanese culture, and have even worked with high-end fashion designer, Louis Vuitton She studied media studies at the New School University and wheat pasted naked images of herself around the city

Towards the end of the 1990s Aiko collaborated with artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller The three formed the street art collective FAILE (then A-life) in 1998 Together the artists created “large format, monochromatic, screen-printed female nudes,” among other work They collective became very popular through this style which worked similarly across media from posters, to prints, to gallery works on canvas In 2006, Lady Aiko left the collective

In 2005 she collaborated with fellow street artist Banksy for his film Exit Through the Gift Shop

Aiko’s work was included in the Museum of Sex’s erotic street art exhibition in 2012 Later that year she created the mural Here’s Fun for Everyone on New York City’s Bowery Wall She was the first woman artist to be invited to paint the wall

In 2013, she attended the international street art festival Nuart in Stavanger, Norway, alongside fellow female graffiti artists Martha Cooper and Faith 47 Working on two walls of a tunnel below the Tou Scene arts centre, she created a work with stenciled representations of silhouettes, women, angels, Mount Fuji, butterflies, flowers and a rabbit holding an aerosol paint can to represent female energy The same year she designed a characteristic floral and feminine scarf for luxury brand Louis Vuitton alongside other street artists Retna and Os Gemeos