FAILE: The “Painted Rip” Effect

Addicted Art Gallery
4 min readJun 15, 2022
Black Dog, FAILE

FAILE, is an anagram for, “A Life”, the name of their first project. FAILE began life as a trio, (originally including Aiko Nakagawa, born 1975, Tokyo), and they focused on dispersing their art on city streets around the world. Their style of wheat-pasted and stenciled work evoked the pulp-cultural and comic book characteristics of sixties pop artists such as Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton.

In the words of the artists:

“Most of our work juxtaposes images. But we’re also interested in the contrasting of ideas and words, pop culture and fine art, attraction and fear, universality and ambiguity. Each piece entails multiple kinds of tension.”

The “Painted Rip” Effect

“By 2006, we had found our stride in the studio. We expanded our visual language and storytelling through the lure of untold narratives. Elements of comic book covers, advertisements, phonebooks and pages of magazines were added to our vocabulary.

“Applying the effects of our street art to our studio work led to the ‘painted rip’, a major development in our aesthetic. We began evolving the ‘painted rip’ in our canvases and then in print making. The process was appealingly organic. Before our eyes, the images we layered took on fresh meanings. Words and visuals were juxtaposed in unexpected ways, intricately…



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