By Mieko Anekawa

Body Painting

A collaboration bodypainting project with dancers Nana Miki and Yuko Hashimoto. Filmed by Ayaka May. The title "MUKARA" means, born from nothing. When the paints spread over the bodies, life began, and heartbeat starts.

Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your contribution.
Mieko Anekawa: All the paintings in my career have an overarching theme of hair, but there has been a wide variety. My earliest works were based in surrealism, and they had components of computer graphic design themes such as two-dimensional, flat images like when one creates digital artwork. This was influenced from when I used to work as a graphic designer in NYC.
       I then started to shift away from surreal and into abstract themes. I started working more in “Nihon-ga” style, which is a Japanese art style with similar 2-D concepts but more like the famous manga comics of Japan. Living in NYC also inspired me to utilize more fluorescent colors in my art. By using these approaches in various combinations, I began to experiment more with my artwork.
       Once I moved to Southern California, I decided to just let things happen and wanted to see where my art would naturally flow as a true expression of myself. By doing this I found out I returned to my original style, with my preference of more surreal works. I also liked using natural shapes and colors, without forcing other styles if it didn’t fit in the artwork. To expand upon painting natural objects using natural colors, last year I also painted on a natural surface: bodypainting. Painting on the human body is such a unique, dynamic experience and is very exciting. It was part of a dance performance, and I liked how painting on the human body can remarkably change the way the painting looks with light changes and body movement.

AM: What inspires you most?
MA: I’ve been fascinated with the human body and human hair ever since I moved to NYC, when I was inspired by the wild hairstyles of New Yorkers.
       Nature’s beauty also inspires me. Often I see a piece of nature that to me looks like it should be a hairstyle. I enjoy painting hair transformed by natural objects and thereby creating my own hairstyles. I feel this combination style is truly limitless and very satisfying.
       Whenever I move to a new place, I find new nature that I never grew up with or experienced. These new shapes and forms of nature are so inspiring and invigorating, and I love to paint them.

AM: What else can we expect to see from you?
MA: Now that I am living on the west coast, my goal is to experience all of Southern California’s wide variety of flora that I come across in my life and include them in my work. I’m calling this new series “Botanical hair.” I’m hoping to do more bodypainting in California, too.

Mieko Anekawa studied graphic design in Kyoto Japan, worked in NYC for 10 years, and then moved to San Diego. Her art has been in NYC galleries in Chelsea, Tribeca, Queens, and Brooklyn, and she has had international exhibitions in Amsterdam, Belgium, England, Canada, Osaka, and Tokyo. You can find more of her work at

Posted on June 2, 2015 .