My combination of free-hand aerosol painting and engineered stencil design means I can quickly execute large scale and durable public art projects.
Through my years as an artist, I’ve developed a unique spatial intelligence for large scale art- how it is informed by local culture and vice versa. While my process is derived from graffiti, I take inspiration from all forms of art and versatility is one of my strongest assets.
But I believe it is my Japanese-American heritage and use of subtlety with a uniquely biracial aesthetic that sets me apart.
Combining studies of traditional Japanese art with modern process and content, my work seeks to address a post-globalized world as well as my own personal biracial history. Using the aesthetic of ukiyo-e woodblock prints, I combine anachronisms and layers of homage to explore cultural dualities. In doing so, I feel like I am part of a centuries-old artistic discourse that has long addressed lineage, obsolescence and appropriation.
Ukiyo-e was one of the first mass produced forms of pop art, and the same woodblock design was often used with different color applications to achieve a variety of prints. Using the modern process of stencils and spray paint, I pursue a similar modularity amid repetition in both color and form. Producing variations of the same design allows for ‘play’ in the grey area between uniformity and singularity. I believe addressing the nature of individuality within a system is both a response to cultural homogenaity and a fundamental concern of 21st century existence.
Wakuda (Wha-Koo-Dah) is my Japanese family name; I use a hybrid of my family kamon as both an iconic branding image and a way to honor my past. Exploring the nature of Ukiyo-e and the interplay between Japan and America has given me the opportunity to better understand both cultures and create something for the future.
Growing up Asian in the homogenous Midwestern United States meant that I was keenly aware of my cultural and aesthetic differences from an early age. Regular visits to my mother’s native Kyoto helped me keep in touch with my Japanese roots and planted the seed of the art I create today.