Martha Cooper Reflects on Lady Aiko Tackling the Famed Houston and Bowery Wall
In mid-June, Aiko spent a solid three weeks hand cutting stencils in preparation for tackling the famous Houston Bowery wall. This wall has become the premier street art exhibition spot since Keith Haring first painted it in 1982. In the past few years the wall has been curated by Jeffrey Deitch and Tony Goldman. Their selection of artists included Os Gemeos, Shepard Fairey, Barry McGee, Kenny Scharf, JR, Faile and Retna. All guys!! I am sooo happy to finally see a woman on this wall!!
Aiko’s 44 stencils, each measuring 6 feet square, were too big for one person to handle so she enlisted the aid of her girlfriends (including me) who spent all night for six nights braving wind, rain and a New York City summer heat wave.
She began work on July 7th, the day of the Japanese festival of Tanabata, which traditionally celebrates the only day when a star-crossed pair lovers who are separated by the Milky Way are allowed to meet. On this day in Japan people write their wishes on slips of paper and tie them onto bamboo stalks. “I wanted to do something really positive and playful for everyone.” Aiko explained.
The finished wall is pure Aiko-style—intricate graphics, super sexy, very Japanese but with a dose of NYC and lots of fun. Check out Here’s Fun for Everyone! through October.
Design based on a Japanese traditional sticker from a shrine with characters for Lady Aiko, Tokyo and Brooklyn.
Reception for finished wall hosted by Tony and Janet Goldman.
Text and Photo: Martha Cooper