Turning Japanese!

By Lorraine Ellis

From the largest to the smallest piece of street art!

This month the focus (no pun intended) is on Akemi Ito, the artist responsible for this delicate three-colour stencil that is to be found in a doorway on Duckboard Place.

Using Montana 94s – a fast-drying and low pressure paint – sheets of acetate and lots of sharp blades, Akemi created this image, working from the lightest colour (white), then red and pulling it all together with the black detail.

Akemi stresses that she does not ”Photoshop” and that each image is individually and lovingly hand drawn “maintaining a journey rather than a destination-orientated  process”.

Originally from Victoria, Akemi practiced fine art in Adelaide, returning to Melbourne early last year.

Her work is influenced by Japanese culture especially Manga. Akemi cites Kabuki – The Alchemy by David Mack in particular.

February saw her challenge herself to draw, cut and put up a-stencil-a-day. She did it – all 28 of them!

An egalitarian approach to art has seen Akemi involved in such activities as Free Art Friday, where the art that was placed in lane ways was free for the taking. She has also been involved in Outsiders, an exhibition organised by nine artists, who made art available to those lucky enough to be early on the night – a case of “first in, best dressed”!

There are many strings to Akemi’s bow. She is a published writer, whose books deal with the creative process and social issues eg. domestic violence.

May 2015 will see the publication of a new book dealing with her street art, its process and body of work to date, I can’t wait to see it!

Akemi also works in the western suburbs with teenagers from non-typical backgrounds, teaching them stencil skills and educating them in street art – its culture and the philosophy.

As for the future with her stencils, she is looking to go bigger and more complex.

Other lanes where you can catch Akemi’s stencils are: Hosier Lane, Higson Lane and Tattersalls Lane.

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