Vandalog has an interesting discussion going on about the role of women artists in the street art scene, and how they are often under-represented. While this is largely true, the question of why fewer women get involved with street art is a hard one to answer. It’s impossible to deny that there are, however, some truly stellar woman artists out there, such as Lady Aiko (disclaimer: some content on Lady Aiko’s site is NSFW, including her landing page).
The high-visibility corner of Houston Street and Bowery has been one of New York’s most exclusive curated walls since 2008. Os Gemeos, JR, Shepard Fairey and RETNA are just a few of the artists who have painted or installed artwork there, and this month, Aiko becomes the first female to paint the coveted spot.
Born in Japan and a resident of Brooklyn, Lady Aiko has been a strong figure in street art for some time, having been a co-founder of the FAILE collective.
McNeil and Miller met during their youth in Arizona. Separated in 1996 when Miller remained in art school in Minneapolis and McNeil continued to New York, by the end of the decade, the duo reconnected and, with the addition of then filmmaker Aiko Nakagawa (b. 1975, Tokyo, JP), “A Life” was conceived. By early 2000, the trio contributed to the emergence of a nascent,street art culture by circulating their screenprinted and painted work on city streets, usually using the subversive processes of wheatpasting (flyposting) and stenciling. During the ensuing years McNeil, Miller, and Nakagawa solidified both their omnivorous style of pop-cultural collage, and changed their name to FAILE (an anagram of A Life). Nakagawa left FAILE in 2006, gaining success in her own right as Lady Aiko…
Lady Aiko has also collaborated with Takashi Murakami and Banksy. Her work takes on a more stencil-based approach as compared with her earlier work with FAILE, and she works with pattern, space and surface in a very compelling way.