Kenji Nakayama migrated to the United States to learn the craft of sign painting before it disappeared. He has elevated this craft to a signature art form.
First we see Kenji in his studio. The “Be Blessed” sign is one of those he traded with a homeless person for a cardboard sign he was carrying also saying, “Be Blessed.” Kenji begins a new sign on Plexiglas. It was a pleasure to see his hand control and how smoothly he created beautiful lines. He is framed by a billboard he painted for Converse.
The day we photographed Kenji with the Converse billboard was a sunny and really cold. The set up took a while so Kenji waited in his car while we threaded a heavy plank through the rungs of a ladder, tied it off to a truck and tested it for safety. Using a second ladder, Kenji climbed up on the plank. It bounced like a diving board but settle down once he was in position. Location photos by Yari Wolinsky.
Photographed for American Craft Magazine