Ayaka Ito

Artist / Painter / Performing art creator

 Ayaka Ito creates acrylic paintings and performing art as "pictures made in a space". Her art works are often evaluated as "performing art-like paintings" and "painting like-performing art". She aims to create art works which touch the heart of those that see them, and become their hope.

 As for creative activities, Ito values words, time flows, sound, space and relationships with others.

Ito presides over a long-term arts project, titled “Kuchibue Lamp” (Whistle Lamp). She plays the role of producer, director, set designer and cast for its performing art works.

 Other than the above, she conducts a wide range of activities as an artist, such as the creation of graphic designs, making props for performing art, appearances in videos and as a photo-session model.

・She graduated from the Department of Scenography, Display and Fashion Design, College of Art and Design, Musashino Art University, Tokyo, Japan

・She studies under Kanda Saori, an artist, a contemporary art performer.  


・She performed and created stage properties in three performing art works shown below, from the leading Japanese underground theatrical company “Engeki Jikkenshitsu◉Banyu Inryoku”:

“Shintokumaru” in 2017

“Kyojin Kyoiku” ('Madman Education') in 2018

“Nuhikun” ('Directions to Servants') in 2019

Deference to light and words,

Admiration of sound and dance,

It is like





Expression is imagination. I believe imagination enriches the hearts of people, and those who are rich in spirit can be kind to others.

I am engaged in painting and performing arts, which are regarded as two different fields. Of course, they apply different methods of expression, and use different materials. However, for me they are very similar in terms of motivation, and in the act of expressing scenery in my mind’s eye. Being free from frameworks of expression, I believe I can fully use my imagination to take those who see my work further and deeper into a different world. Therefore, I am purely in pursuit of ideal ways of expression that I love.


Here, light is called "Now" 

I hope that the passion and atmosphere of my work

Will touch those who see it,

And that we can share happiness with warm hearts.                  Ayaka Ito.



Publicly supported exhibition / Spiral Independent Creators Festival 20 (SICF20) / Tokyo, Japan


Publicly supported exhibition / Spiral Independent Creators Festival 20 (SICF20) / Tokyo, Japan


Publicly supported exhibition / Spiral Independent Creators Festival 20 (SICF20) / Tokyo, Japan


Ayaka Ito was born in Tokyo in 1990. She has been painting since her infancy. She found pleasure in word play and the rhythm of words from her mother’s reading of picture books to her. It also helped to cultivate her fertile imagination. Ito deeply loved picture books and fantasy stories such as those written by J.K. Rowling and Kenji Miyazawa.


In her adolescence, Ito started to express her deep emotions with a combination of paintings and language, in order to face both her inner world and the real world. 

She also started playing music and experienced letting herself go along with the rhythm, having empathy to music and lyrics, and feeling a huge energy filling the space within. These experiences greatly raised Ito’s consciousness to a bodily-felt impulse, the power of words.


In 2008, Ito met Saori Kanda, an artist. Kanda’s art performances with the integration of music, human bodies and paintings made a great impact. Since then she has supported Kanda’s performances as her assistant. She has learned a lot from Kanda’s attitude toward expression and human relations.

From that point, Ito started learning acrylic painting through self-study. She also started to conduct a series of live sessions consisting of her painting performances and jazz players’ improvisation. 


In 2010, she entered Musashino Art University and took a stage art course in the scenography, display and fashion design department. 

While Ito was at the university, she started to be involved in the activities of a Japanese leading underground theatrical company, “Banyu Inryoku” (Universal Gravitation) as the person in charge of stage properties. When they performed, “Kyojin Kyoiku” (Madman Education) in 2018, she had a starring role as “Ran”, the heroine of the story. With her experience in the theatrical company, she polished her sensory abilities to perceive the scene on stage as a piece of a painting. Further she learned how to use her body as a performer to invite the audiences to other dimension.


When Ito was at the university, she visited the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris. There, for the first time, in front of the huge painting of Monet’s Waterlilies, she felt a sense of “comfort” from a painting. She realized that paintings, under most suitable conditions, have the potential to give us bodily experiences. Additionally, she began to pay attention to how exhibition spaces should be designed.


From 2012 to 2014, Ito produced a series of live paint performances, and combined the roles of producer, stage manager, set designer and performer.


In the same period, influenced by the painting styles of Michael Sowa, a painter, and Masaru Shichinohe, an illustrator, she started to produce tableaus.

Ito was motivated to paint mainly by impulsive emotions; her works were not directly aimed at appealing to others, but were only for herself, as a record of her memories.

On putting titles to them, she realized her paintings have an inseparable relation to the words. This is a natural consequence of the fact that Ito has been very sensitive to verbal expression since her infancy.


When Ito graduated from university in 2014, she produced her first, 15-minute stage performance titled『Poetry Anthology』, inspired by Yoko Ogawa’s literary work. 

Following this, Ito started a long-term project, entitled “Kuchibue Lamp” (“Whistle Lamp”). She has continued work on the project up to the current time, and has produced a series of stage performance art: 『Window』(2015), 『Jyohki-syusyu(“Vapor Collecting”)』(2016),『Picture Book without Blue』(2019), 『Light』(2019). In all these works, Ito has combined the roles of producer, stage director, stage manager, set designer, playwright and performer. In these, she has paid the greatest attention to the use of poetic phrases and theatrical devices, to put audiences into a dream-like state. All of these works consist of picturesque scenes, like pictures painted in the space. 

She has also paid great attention to building good relations among all those involved in her works, so that they have genuine respect and affection for one another.

Many of her audience have shed tears at these and it has convinced her that what she has expressed with her honest feelings can resonate in the hearts of many.


Ito is now working intensively on acrylic paintings of imagined landscapes.

She has cultivated her well-developed sensibilities, using words, visual sensations, time, space, sound and bodily reactions, via her experiences of the performing arts. By fully using these, she creates paintings with her style: that of expressing, in the form of imagined landscapes, the emotions evoked in her when facing various situations and events.

Her experiences of performance art made her, as a painter, pay more attention to time flow, the expansion of space, stories evoked, feelings of unreality, and the existence of an “audience”, the people who look at her paintings.

That furthered her prayer that her paintings will bring glimmers of hope to those who view them. As can be seen, Ito has now completely transformed her attitude towards her pictures, once painted only for herself.


In 2019, Ito’s acrylic paintings were accepted for two publicly supported exhibitions: “Spiral Independent Creators Festival 20 (SICF20)”, held in Tokyo and “Iime Fukurame 2019 -Young Artist Competition-”, held in Nagoya.

With an expectation that her ‘picture-like performing arts” and “performing art-like pictures” will further deepen their mutual interaction, Ito now aims to create art works that can give glimmers of hope for others.

CONTACT ▶︎ ayakaito.works@gmail.com

© AYAKA ITO All Rights Reserved.

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