Fashion model, stylist, designer, art director, film-maker, best-selling author, award-winning artist—the remarkable talents of Asami Kiyokawa have seen her wow an array of audiences, from the art world and fashion glitterati to a whole generation of children.
“I was born under a lucky star,” she says, “I wish for something, and often it comes true.” Although this romantic and visionary approach shines through in her work, Kiyokawa’s extraordinary success is down to more than pure luck.
Picture: A scene “Rinko no Kawa no Kishi” from “Night on the Galactic Railroad”
Her signature medium is an exciting hybrid of photography and embroidery—images are embellished with myriad coloured threads and sparkling crystals to create fantastical visions; to give a man angelic wings; to transform a woman into an exotic creature—the work is intricate, painstaking and exquisitely beautiful.
Brought up on Awaji Island, Japan, Kiyokawa moved to Tokyo to attend fashion college. Her first day in the city saw her talent-spotted by a model agency scout. “It was crazy, modelling in the morning before college.” This exhilarating time had a huge impact on the young artist. “I loved the exciting street culture of that period. I wanted to create my own unique worlds, to join those people making fashion happen.”
Upon graduating, Kiyokawa found the creative voice that was to launch her career. “I was looking for an original style, then one day I found some embroidery thread on a photo…”
Since that moment of inspiration, her creative process has always started with an imagined image. She then works back, figuring out how that vision can be achieved. “Sometimes I collaborate with a photographer, often I take my own photographs. I’ll also work on images digitally before I embroider them.”
Be it a children’s book (such as the much-loved Night on the Galactic Railroad), or a series of portraits that transform celebrities into endangered species of flora and fauna (the acclaimed Bijo Saishu) crystal’s unique qualities play a vital role in realizing Kiyokawa’s dream worlds: “I use SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS in most of my work. I love them because they have so many different facets. They sparkle in so many different ways, in so many colors—sometimes they are spectacular, sometimes subtle, but never ordinary—just like my work!”
Look out for her solo show, coming to Miyazaki Art Center in September—Asami Kiyokawa’s inspirational star continues to rise.