Yuki Shiroi: I’m In Between

Artist Profile:

  • Artist, Graphic Designer, Illustrator
  • Medium: Anything, as long as it can be transformed to her idea
  • Hometown: Tokyo
  • Current location: Berlin
  • Yukinando.com
Yuki  © Heather Schmaedeke

Yuki © Heather Schmaedeke

Yuki and I met in 2013 during the Epic Street Art Battle at ReTramp Gallery in Neukölln. Last year Yuki was one of the artists invited to paint at Her Mit dem Schönen Leben, where she’ll be painting again this year.

Yukiとは2013年、NeuköllnにあるReTramp Galleryで行われたEpic Street Art Battleで出会いました。彼女は去年、そして今年とHer Mit dem Schönen Lebenにてアーティストとして招待されました。

Yuki Shiroi’s creative journey began as a baker before picking up different tools and refocusing her creative energies in a different direction. She always liked drawing and painting and while still in Tokyo she met a painter from Berlin at a gallery. The artist she met was a teacher at UDK, it peaked her interest in Berlin. She was already studying oil painting at the time and shortly thereafter decided that she wanted to go to school in Germany. Yuki visited Berlin for the first time in 2001.

Yuki Shiroi、幼少からドローイング、ペインティングは昔から得意としていた。彼女は東京にてパン屋の職に就いたが、ある日ギャラリーにて、当時ベルリン在住のアーティストの絵に魅かれた。そのアーティストはUDKにて教員をしていることをきっかけにベルリンに興味を持つ。その後2001年にベルリンに渡ることを決意し、ドイツの美大で勉強したいという願望をもつようになりました。

HMDSL © Heather Schmaedeke

HMDSL © Heather Schmaedeke

Instead of studying in Berlin, Yuki went to study illustration and animation in Holland.
After her graduation, Yuki went back to Japan, and working as Illustrator and graphic designer for different kind of clients. Illustration and graphic design are  always for clients, and not for myself. So I have to change my technique but some clients  gives me lots of freedom”


In 2012 Yuki returned to Berlin for an artist residency and “that was a big moment, when I was working in the residency, before that I was only doing work for other people and not myself.” Until then the work was just for her, not to show anyone else. “That was the time I began thinking about how you communicate to an audience and for the first time I really thought about the question, ‘what is art?’.”


“Then came the question, ‘what is my style’?”


© Yuki Shiroi

© Yuki Shiroi

“I’ve always used a really thin brush. Before the really thin lines – the black and white work, my work was really different. My work really changed after I painted something in Pankow and it was quite an experience. My work just suddenly changed, quickly – I was just using left over black paint, since then my style has been the same.”


“I didn’t finish my piece but maybe I was thinking I should just cover the room. One of my friends said he really wanted to see my work and he really liked it. He had been telling me stories about Brazilians tribes and how they do the tattoos. Then I began incorporating it into my work.”

Yuki has been making masks for one year, but it goes really slowly. Painting the masks takes the longest. When she makes the masks she goes right into making the mold out of clay, “I can see that it looks like part of an animal. It’s really free – I don’t plan anything.” Yuki doesn’t work from sketches. Once the mask is complete and dried then she looks at it and it and starts making decisions of what to paint where.

The masks are like these a combination animal masks that are lifelike and you expect them start talking. They have such character. The best part of the masks is different people see different things in them, which is really interesting to her. “The work I do on the masks, for myself is free to be whatever it is.”

Mask © Yuki Shiroi

Mask © Yuki Shiroi



Life experiences; traveling and living in Berlin are reflected in Yuki’s art. “I think when you keep your mind open, you get many opportunities to practice your art everywhere!! I am able to travel to new places and chat with friends of different nationalities, these things have all been influences”.


Haus 3 © Yuki Shiroi

Haus 3 © Yuki Shiroi


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