Artist, performer, and professional wrestler Mikki Yamashiro makes art that suits her colorful character. Known for her untraditional crochets, her art is raw, punk, and deliberately unpolished. It’s also extremely cool.
Her untraditional career path meant that Yamashiro moved from place to place. Based first in San Diego and later San Francisco, she would perform with her punk/experimental band, The Merdivorators, creating interactive installations and recreating tropes of after school specials and sitcoms. Upon moving to New York, she became one-fourth of the JUDY collective, curating and creating queer, multimedia nightlife events. And most recently, she’s performed as a professional wrestler, named Candy Pain.
But back to her crochet art. “As a teenager, I learned how to crochet from my mom, Takako Yamashiro,” she told the Urban Outfitters blog. “I never learned how to read patterns.” Once she figured out that crochet could be so much more than scarfs and baby blankets, the possibilities were endless. “I have been consistently crocheting since then, making costumes, bikinis, soft sculpture, wall hangings, pillows, giant portraits based on the Cathy comics.”
Working from her apartment, Yamashiro admits she enjoys being able to cohabit with her work. “This is the first time in my life I have lived alone and I thought that I was finally going to have a ‘grown-up’ minimal, fancy, apartment. But it turns out I actually just want to live in a psychedelic TGIFridays/Pee-wee’s Playhouse with plants,” she jokes.
“My aesthetic is all about bright colors, humor and the queering of pop culture,” she adds. “So, being surrounded by my work and the beautiful work of my friends creates a pop culture of its own: it’s all around me and part of my daily life.”
Take a look at some of her quirky creations.