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Editorial: Bodega x Dr. Martens ft. Kenji Nakayama

Bodega x Dr. Martens
featuring Kenji Nakayama

Kenji Nakayama has long been a key figure of Bodega’s artistic collective, and his work and spirit continue to play an integral role in our continued creative vision. An artist and a craftsman, Kenji moved to Boston from Hokkaido, Japan, in 2004, and it wasn’t long before his artistic influence gained recognition and notoriety. Trained in traditional sign painting, Kenji’s time-honored, age-old discipline is one that is sadly becoming extinct due to the preference of technology advances and the ease of more mechanized methods.

 

But that’s what makes Kenji’s craft all the more unique, and his skill all the more valued and in-demand.

 

Kenji’s custom signage is the result of painstaking preparation, patient application, and of course, a steady hand. With Intricate tracing, careful brushstrokes, and an often acrobatic execution, each of his endeavors, even his commercial work, is treasured like a one-of-a-kind work of art.

With his analog technique and DIY ethos, two things that Bodega holds in the highest regard, he speaks to the philosophies we hold dear, and is exemplary of the kind of practitioner that we support, value and continue to work with side-by-side, fighting the good fight.

 

For those of you who have ever wondered who is behind the signage at Bodega or featured in our intensive build outs, it’s almost always Kenji. His unique style and intricate output have played a critical role in the Bodega aesthetic ever since his “advertisements” first adorned the Bodega storefront years ago. Understated, yet perfectly embellished, Kenji’s signage is often an extension of his character. Kind, quiet and peaceful, his work also includes brief glimpses of his whimsical wit and positive attitude, each of which are incorporated into his work with such a skillful subtlety, you may just miss the message if you aren’t paying attention.

 

It is this prowess of his craft and the ability to riff on his output, that makes his transition to “fine art” so seamless. In addition to his commissioned work across town, Kenji’s personal art projects have appeared in galleries and exhibits across the globe. Often using the meticulous calligraphy and gilded lettering so often employed in his craft as the basis for much of his creative work, Kenji juxtaposes a variety of fonts and colors, often combining them with abstract line compositions and hand-cut stencils, resulting in provocative paintings that have been aptly described as “balance between meditation and highly trained craftsmanship.”

Release Info: Saturday, December 7, 2019

 

Available online and in-store at our Boston location at 10am EST,
in-store at our Los Angeles location at 11am PST,
and in-store at our Unofficial Basel Gift Shop located at 120 NE 40th St, Miami, FL 33137 at 12pm EST, on a first come, first served basis.

Ricky Orng

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