Ayako Rokkaku

, b. 1982

Born in 1982, Chiba-shi, Japan, Rokkaku now divvies up her time working between Berlin, Porto, Tokyo and Amsterdam. The artist’s journey to art-world stardom was far from ordinary. A young Rokkaku had little artistic ambition beyond the odd doodle here and there. It would not be until the ripe age of 20, that she “stumbled upon [art],” as a viable profession. From then, on everything seemed to click, and in four short years her big break came with the awarding of the prestigious Akio Goto Prize, in 2006. There was no looking back now that Rokkaku had begun her meteoric rise. Untraditional beginnings facilitated the development of an idiosyncratic style. Unabated by what others might think, Rokkaku has formed a visual language that is deeply personal and instantly recognisable. With this creative freedom Rokkaku adopted the unique approach of painting with her hands, often live, in front of mesmerised audiences. This primitive technique lends a zany quality to her work, accentuated by the forgoing of any pre-planning, in favor of an intuitive performance-based approach in which the artist surrenders herself to the painting. The colourful cartoonish characters that inhabit Rokkaku’s rainbow-hued backdrops reflect her longing for the boundless energy of youth, and help to create vast dream-like worlds that beckon the gaze with hypnotic qualities. It would be of little surprise if Rokkaku was to soon establish her place as one of the most important Japanses artists of the 21st century. Ayano Rokkaku: “I believe in any age, childlike pureness or the kinds of questions we have as children, are necessary for keeping ourselves together psychologically.”