Winter Wonderland

Misaki Kawai
Photographer: Vincent Dilio

Japanese artist Misaki Kawai radiates positivity. Over a decade-long career of performance, paint, and sculpture she has maintained a voracious appetite for the new, not to mention a quirky optimism. After a winter residency in East Hampton, snowed in with her husband, the photographer Justin Waldron, Kawai will unveil her latest experiments at the NADA art fair next week in a solo booth with the gallerist Eric Firestone. Before she packed up, Misaki gave W a sneak peek.

Photographer: Vincent Dilio

Misaki Kawai poses with a finished painting at her East Hampton residency.

Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“I think people think I’m pretty messy after seeing my paintings, but I think I’m pretty clean.”


“[Justin] inspires me, but it’s good we don’t do the same thing.”

Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“Being in nature has influenced my work. Of course, a little bit of everything comes into it.”

Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“Eat, sleep, paint. It’s winter after all.”

Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“Every creative person needs a pen and a paper to record their ideas. I’m always sketching.”

Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“It feels like I’m using almost a different part of my brain when I work on the large scale canvases. Once you get comfortable painting big ones, it’s hard to go back. I’m liking experimenting with different sizes for now.”

Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“Sometimes I need to walk into center of the canvases to paint. My shoes show it.”

Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“It started with my drawings on the iPad. I ran out of paper once and it just sort of happened. And, now I’m painting in this new caveman style.”

Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“I like to keep going. I don’t think I could live with my work long term—I need room to grow.”

Photographer: Vincent Dilio

“I like climbing—not the crazy, crazy kind, but we went to Base Camp this winter. There was no one there but us. It was beautiful. It was shaped exactly like this. I should go color on the mountain.”