Illustrator Aya Kakeda is first and foremost a storyteller. “I like telling stories and creating my own whimsical world,” she shared in an interview with AG Gallery. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Kakeda now draws and creates her imaginative worlds in Brooklyn, NY.
“When I started out, I started by remembering my imaginary world that I had when I was little,” she reflected. “And now that world has been expanding over the years.” Kakeda describes her illustrated worlds as mysterious and dark, sometimes occupied with strange creatures but never serious. “There is some sort of humor in it,” she says. “I like the contrast of reality and imaginary, dark and light, cute and ugly, and that reflects in my art I think.”
Over the years, her toolbox expanded with each of her projects. Kakeda’s mediums now include anything from printmaking and painting to installation, embroidery, and even ceramic sculptures. “My art education is in illustration, but while I was in school I started to be more interested in Fine Art,” she explains. “Now I split my time being a illustrator, Fine artist, and educator.”
While her personal work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world, her commercial work has attracted clients as big as NIKE, Nickelodeon, the New York Times, the New Yorker Magazine, and the Washington Post.
“Every time I go somewhere I get inspired and can’t wait to go back to studio and create,” says Kakeda. “Also I get influenced by reading, watching cinema, seeing performances, and so on. And having coffee talking to friends also inspires me, I am luckily surrounded by many creative minds!”
Enter her creative universe: