Who is Akiza?
Once upon a time in 2003, a graphic artist and calligrapher named Robinson Deschamps did a series of illustrations for an organization with a temperamental printer. The quirks of their machinery meant that Deschamps could not use colors or even grey levels; the illustrations had to be in black and white. He did the project, delighted with the challenge of the restraints, and in the process created several characters. Of those characters, it was the strange little Akiza-girl who caught Deschamps’ imagination.
The first Akiza is the girl with the iconic face, whose world consists of wires and signage and bits of architecture. She is diminutive, and playful, and fetishy, and asexual all at once.
How is she made?
Deschamps is an accomplished calligrapher and typeface designer; Akiza was born the year after Deschamps won a Judge’s Prize in the Latin Category of the prestigious Morisawa International Typeface Design Competition. The artist spent some time in Japan after accepting the award, and the prolific art styles of that culture contributed to Akiza’s look.
His other major visual inspirations are industry, architecture, and fetish imagery- particularly bondage. Deschamps’ uses source imagery from these inspirations and works with them, finding the fundamental lines of crown molding or a TV antenna and turning them into the twisting, surreal world that Akiza inhabits. Akiza’s eyes, in particular, provide an anchor for Deschamps’ compositions. He uses the calligrapher’s precise sense of line weight and curve to create a sense of movement and energy, while Akiza’s eyes almost uniformly provide a place of stillness.
In recent years, Akiza is cared for by Deschamps and his partner Yoshii; together they handle the business of keeping the little girl out and about in various galleries and showings.
While he usually works in electronic format, Deschamps will occasionally paint Akiza, or stencil her onto the side of buildings.
Where is she?
Akiza will next be shown at Les Furieux, a rock bar in Paris, from July 12th to Sept 2nd. Soon after that, she will be moving into her very own home: a gallery and concept store in Montmartre, opening in September. Or, if you don’t plan on being in Paris, you could check out the Akiza Shop; there is a flat rate of €1 shipping fees for deliveries outside of France. The images below are available in the shop, among many others: