Career: Visual artist
Location: Brooklyn, NYC
Who’s your Fred?: Biggie
We met Naoko—a creative whose work is as vibrant as the borough she calls home—in the rumbling heart of Brooklyn. Naoko’s art, a blend of fantasy and reality, mirrors the delicate balance of New York’s individualism against its tapestry of colorful communities.
JUST FRED caught Naoko between photo shoots to chat about the art life, Brooklyn’s magical vibe, and Biggie’s favorite dog hoodie for a night on the town.
JUST FRED: Naoko, your work as a visual artist and social media producer is so intertwined with city life. Tell us how the spirit of Brooklyn inspires you.
Naoko: Living in the city is a paradox. Surrounded by millions of people, it’s easy to feel isolated. Yet, the city’s lights and the beautiful cacophony of humanity reminds me that I’m not alone.
There’s a secret beauty in never-quite-solitude. The energy of everyone around me, the community that surrounds me—they’re constant reminders that I’m part of something bigger.
Every flash of neon, every distant cry of laughter, every heartbeat of Brooklyn’s rhythmic cadence serve as a gentle comfort. Brooklyn’s glow is a bit like a lighthouse in the dark. Even when I’m adrift in my dreams, it keeps pulling me back, night after night.
JUST FRED: Your “Night Walk” series is a captivating blend of fantasy and reality. Can you dive into the inspiration behind it?
Naoko: Absolutely! My art often revolves around the theme of “fantasy in reality.” The idea is to find hope or light even in the darkest corners, turning them into something beautiful. For “Night Walk,” I placed gems on my lips and wore elegant dresses with heels, symbolizing innocence and fantasy.
As I wandered the city at night, the gems began to fall, representing the encroaching reality. The photos’ blurry and overexposed style captures the interplay between the real and the fantastical.
JUST FRED: If you had to capture Brooklyn’s essence in three words, they would be…
Naoko: My dreamy playground.
JUST FRED: For all the art enthusiasts out there, where should they visit in NYC?
Naoko: The galleries and artist studios in the Lower East Side, Greenpoint, and Industry City are all must-sees. They’re inspiring hubs of creativity.
JUST FRED: Any exciting projects on the horizon for you?
Naoko: Yes! I recently did my solo show, “Once Upon a Time,” at my local Brooklyn coffee shop. They displayed my work for the entire month of July. My zines were also available for purchase there until the end of August.
I’m brainstorming a new show for this fall, blending lighting installations with dance. Plus, I curate and produce an art show annually spotlighting various artists.
JUST FRED: Let’s talk about Biggie! Describe his personality and favorite activities.
Naoko: Biggie is a bundle of contradictions—kind, emotionally intuitive, playful, yet with a mix of neediness and independence. He’s obsessed with his corn toy. He loves flaunting it before letting me play fetch with him.
JUST FRED: Any favorite spots you and Biggie love to explore?
Naoko: We adore wandering from SoHo to the Lower East Side. We’ll pause at local cafes, where Biggie becomes an instant celebrity, getting all the pets. Sometimes, we’ll accessorize Biggie’s natural handsomeness with a cute scarf or stylish dog hoodie, especially when the weather’s cool.
JUST FRED: Does Biggie join you when you travel?
Naoko: Absolutely! We’ve shared an Amtrak, other trains, and cars. Flying is next on our list!
JUST FRED: As someone deeply entwined in the art world, any advice for budding collectors?
Naoko: Trust your instincts. Instead of looking for the “never seen before” piece, I value the stories behind the art and the artists. It’s about what captures my heart and my eyes.
JUST FRED: Biggie, we’ve got a question for you! What’s the best part of the day?
Biggie: Oh, I’ve got three! Morning walks, the moment mummy comes home, and snuggling RIGHT next to her at night. Pure bliss!
JUST FRED: Lastly, we’ve seen Biggie rocking the JUST FRED hoodie. What makes it the perfect hoodie for him, and does it speak to you as an artist?Naoko: I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THE HOODIE!! I’m obsessed with it. The edgy, stylish graphic, the cozy inner texture, and the practical hole for a leash make it ideal. Biggie adores wearing it. For me, it’s extra appealing because it’s a blend of fashion and function, much like my art’s theme of fantasy in reality.