Yuko Nishikawa creates a fantastical environment with her colorful, textural lively forms. With a hands-on, exploratory approach, she makes paintings, lighting, mobiles and sculptures using a variety of mediums including clay, wire, fabrics, as well as repurposed materials such as recycled paper and used eyewear lenses.
Her work reflects her accumulative experiences in architecture, restoration, interior and furniture design, crafts and engineering. Growing up in a small seaside town just south of Tokyo, Japan, Nishikawa received her B.F.A. in Interior Design from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology in 2002. Since then, she has surveyed courthouses, hospitals and federal buildings; documented the Guggenheim Museum’s facade for the restoration project in 2008; and assisted in hospitality and residential interior design projects for some of NYC’s leading studios such as Clodagh, Bilhuber Inc. and Alexandra Champalimaud.
She designed furniture and lighting collections for luxury home furnishing company Donghia. Over her nine years there she had direct collaborations with master craftspeople, learning the techniques of Murano glass and mirrors, cabinetry, wood, metal, upholstery, lacquerware, leather and gilded frames. All the while increasingly engaged in her own studio practice she launched ceramic collections in collaboration with Calvin Klein Home and Anthropologie, produced tableware and decorative objects for restaurants and hotels in the NYC area including Halifax, the W Hotel’s Hoboken NJ restaurant as well as the boutique hotel The James New York. She also exhibited artwork through galleries and art spaces in Milan, New York, and New Jersey.
Since leaving Donghia in 2017, her work has evolved and expanded beyond the ceramic sculptures she exhibited in Possibly Tools at WantedDesign and the lighting installation You See A Sheep in the group show In Good Company, to include immersive, site and time-specific projects. Highlights include a project during quarantine where she painted one painting per day for one hundred days, window displays with mobiles and paintings for French fashion brand Sandro’s 52 world-wide stores, lighting and sculpture installation Sporarium at Friends Artspace in Arlington, VA, vessel and plant exhibition Obscure Plant Club at Tula House in Brooklyn, NY, and the immersive mobile installation Memory Functions in The Brooklyn Home Company’s new eco-friendly condominium in Brooklyn.
She currently works in her studio in the industrial area in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, which she built out with friends utilizing demolished materials found in the building. She named this space Forest: a place where things grow and things decay to nourish new lives, and where people wonder and discover something new. In this space, for four years, she hosted the monthly Salon at Forest, a gathering and conversation of creative minds, which has been on pause since the beginning of the pandemic.