Signs of the Times

Nakayama has achieved a level of success that others might be jealous of if everybody didn’t simply adore him. Through the Woodward Gallery, where his Manhattan show is coming up, he recently hung a six-panel stencil piece at the Bank of America building in SoHo. Then there’s the April sequel at Lot F to last year’s hugely successful show with Woulfe. There, among other things, he’ll premiere a series of signs that he designed for homeless acquaintances to panhandle with. Experimenting with guys who hang out in the alleyway behind Lot F, Nakayama has been taking messages from their cardboard jobs and transforming them with multi-colored crafted lettering so as to hopefully increase their take. Through it all, Nakayama also works a full-time day job as a sneaker designer for Converse in North Andover. Since he’s implementing other peoples’ ideas there, he doesn’t consider the gig to be part of his artistic repertoire, though in 2008 he did customize a pair of All-Stars for the company’s centennial 1HUND(RED) series. That’s his character: though finally comfortable with making art for art’s sake, his work ethic still keeps Nakayama grinding out work for hire as he pursues his next paycheck. “All I could do when I got here was work hard in order to make things work for me,” he says. “I guess I’m still trying to do that" 

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