Kenji Nakayama was born in Tomokomai on the island of Hokkaido, Japan in 1979. A mechanical engineer by education, Kenji made a significant life change in 2005 with a move to Boston, Massachusetts to study traditional sign painting and to dedicate his time and energy to art-making. Kenji's diverse practice ranges from careful pinstriping and gilded lettering to hand-cut, multi-layered 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 highly-trained craftsmanship. Music, solitude, humor, motorcycles, and urban decay serve as direct sources of inspiration.
Kenji's work has been exhibited widely across the US and abroad in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He attended the Musashi Institute of Technology from 1998–2002 in Tokyo, and studied traditional sign painting at Butera School of Arts 2004–2006 in Boston. Now Kenji also works as a designer at Converse. He currently lives and works in Boston.