Aya Kakeda is a Brooklyn-based illustrator, ceramicist, and educator whose work is currently featured in our show ‘Spectra.’ Originally from Tokyo, Aya’s work is whimsical and humorous, packed with colorful details that reveal the artist’s endless imagination. This is our first time getting to work with Aya– check out her work in the show through Saturday June 2, and read on for her answers to a few questions from the gallery and a glimpse into more of her work:

Helikon Gallery: Did you aspire to be an artist, or did you fall in love with making art?

Aya Kakeda: I always loved drawing and making stories, and I think I became an artist naturally.
From the “Microchan” series
HG: Do you have a “day job” outside of your art?
AK: Yes I am a educator, I teach illustration at art colleges in New York. I also am a freelance illustrator.
From the “Microchan” series
HG: What would you tell your younger self when you were first embarking on your artistic career?
AK: I would tell her to follow your heart and make art that you really enjoy making.
HG: How long do you usually take to complete a piece? Do you work on multiple pieces simultaneously?
AK: It depends on the project but I usually work in a series, working on multiple pieces at the same time.
I also work in different media including paintings, sculptures, and prints.
HG:  What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
AK: I have a lot of plants in my studio. I get inspired by nature but I live in a city, so I’m trying to bring nature into my home as much as possible!
HG: Where do you currently live and how did you come to reside there?
AK: I live in Brooklyn, NY. I originally came to NY for a graduate school and since I met so many creative friends and communities I decided to stay. I am from Tokyo, Japan but Brooklyn for me feels like my artistic home.
HG: Outside of the craft you are known for, do you pursue any other artistic endeavors?
AK: I make Ceramic sculptures, embroidery, silkscreen prints, and often work on a zine printed by RISO.
HG: What are you currently working on and what projects do you have coming up?
AK: This summer I am concentrating on making comics and making an artist book. I’ve been thinking about a few stories for a long time and it’s time to put them down on paper.
Thank you to Aya for participating in our interview! See her pieces in ‘Spectra’ through June 2, and check out more of her work at http://www.ayakakeda.com/.

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