‘If This is a Dream, Please Let Me Sleep’ features a blend of Wakiyama’s works on paper and recent paintings spanning from 2013 through 2021. Wakiyama’s signature character, seen in variations throughout her works, encompasses a multitude of intentions—sometimes serving as self-reflections into the artist’s own emotional landscape, other times as portraits of others or manifestations from the depths of her imagination. Wakiyama’s work utilizes visual techniques as a way to overcome the limitations of language as a means of expression, as the artist sees art as a method of communicating unbounded emotion.
Artist Eri Wakiyama was born in Fukuoka, Japan, before moving to California’s Bay Area during her early childhood. By 2005, Wakiyama relocated to New York City to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design. Through her vast experience with major fashion houses throughout her education and career such as Miu Miu, Calvin Klein, Supreme, and ALYX, Wakiyama’s oeuvre reflects a mixture of perspectives, practice, and skills that embody her distinctive style of abstracted portraiture. Wakiyama’s artistic practice challenges conventional applications of technique and color to produce a style that is uniquely hers. As an artist who developed a distinct style through self-teaching, Wakiyama defies what is “right” and “wrong” in art, instead embracing a practice that expands and confronts restrictions. Wakiyama holds an artistic attitude that emphasizes the beauty of a carefree, unsteady, or “childlike” approach to artmaking—denying technical rules to explore a breadth of topics and styles.