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Kenji Nakayama was born in Tomakomai on the island of Hokkaido, Japan in 1979. A mechanical engineer by education, Nakayama made a significant life change in 2004 with a move to Boston, Massachusetts to study traditional sign painting and to dedicate his time and energy to art­making. Nakayama’s diverse practice ranges from lettering, pinstriping and gold leaf to hand­cut, multi­layered stencil paintings. Each intricately carved stencil painting is a unique manifestation of documenting and responding to the environment surrounding him, and often takes months to complete. His work serves as a personal diary of experience and influence, and his process can be described as a balance between meditation and highly­trained craftsmanship. 

Nakayama’s work has been exhibited widely across the US and abroad in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He attended a mechanical institute from 1998­ to 2002 in Tokyo, and studied traditional sign painting at Butera School of Arts from 2004­ to 2006 in Boston. Nakayama worked as a footwear designer at Converse from 2008 to 2013. In 2013, he began working with the Boston ­based sign painting company Best Dressed Signs, in addition to working on independent projects (2013-2014). He currently lives and works in Boston.