Reina Imagawa (b.1992) is a Japanese designer, artist, ex-architect and social engineer from Tokyo and New York, now based in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Her practice involves people as a medium and centers them at the core of the design process. Collaborating with actors both inside and outside of institutions, she looks critically at paradigmatic models of social participation embedded in art, design and urban systems and their exclusionary politics. Her recent work combines architecture and social engineering to produce playful “antidote spaces” that aim to realign agency and hierarchy, activating DIY skatescapes in art museums, installing sculptures that make people invent games in public space, and hosting graffiti house parties instead of workshops. Her primary audiences are youth, creative people who do not have a traditional studio practice, and artists who lack access to emerging modes of artistic production.
Her works have occupied institutions such as Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo and Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte in Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and her designs have been recognized by Core77 Design Awards, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, NUEVO MIAMI (Bogotá), ArtCenter College of Design and Wired Magazine Japan. She influenced the 2017-18 Leadership Council of Emerging Arts Leaders Los Angeles as the only designer, and will serve as one of five peer review members for the 2019 California Creative Communities grant panel under California Arts Council. She was awarded a research grant from the Experimental Geography Studio in University of Oklahoma for her short film Juego es Poder that involved asking skaters to use various technology to document how they play with Mexico City.
Her network of collaborators include museum guards, skaters, Museo Tamayo, the Architectural Association (AA), SK8SCAPES, Anónima, Laboratorio para la Ciudad, and the 15th Council District of Los Angeles. She is fluent in Japanese and almost fluent in Spanish. She is currently finishing her MFA in Media Design from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA and holds a BA in Urban Studies & Architecture from Columbia University.
View her full CV here.
Current and upcoming projects
Peer grant reviewer, California Arts Council
California Creative Communities
Sacramento, CA (Apr 2019)
Teaching assistant, ArtCenter College of Design
Pasadena, CA + Mexico City, Mexico (Spring 2019)
Director, Skatelab in Museo Tamayo
Mexico City, Mexico (2018 - present)
YouTube: Reina Imagawa
A messy list of artists who inspire her.
To view her graduate studio blog, visit Cargo.