International to the core, illustrator Niky Roehreke’s unique blend of gifted genes (half-German and half-Japanese) might have played a part in her predilection for eclectic mixed media collages. Whether London, Tokyo or New York, no metropolis seems too large for the sought-after illustrator.

After completing her graphic design degree at London’s prestigious Central Saint Martin’s College in 2008, Niky initially returned to Tokyo, but soon swapped the joys of Shinjuku and sushi for the Big Apple’s bustle and bluster. At the time of writing, the young artist and genre-transcending all-rounder has found a new base in Brooklyn, New York. Although Tokyo seemed to offer the perfect artistic framework and conditions, New York reeled her in with its irresistible allure of tantalising scope and freedom to pursue her own dreams; freedom to express herself in her own images and to meet other people who do the same – living and loving the life of an artist. She now savours her life as a freelance illustrator and welcomes all the challenges this city might throw at her.

Faced with this wealth of visual stimulation on offer, she is certainly not suffering from a lack of inspiration. When not working on her own illustrations, Roehreke loves nothing better than to scour flea markets for old books and the most absurd collections of obscure antiques or to simply take a coffee break for a stint of people-watching and social interaction. Back to the studio, a few moments to jot those impressions down on paper – the perfect routine in a city simply brimming with stimulating sounds and sights.

At the same time, Niky is an expert at reinvention and keeps stumbling across new aspects and inspirations even within her own work. And this phenomenon characterises her entire approach: From initial idea to final framed image, she loves to move countless of elements across the page, switch and swap to her heart’s delight, until every detail is just right. Once finished, her mixed media illustrations make for extremely thoughtful, polished works brimming with a wealth of colours, techniques and strokes of the pen. And yet, one recurring motif keeps slipping into the blend: her long-standing fascination with hands. According to Niky, our versatile appendages are the alpha, the beginning of everything because hands never lie – they are the most honest means of expression.

Curious about her varied work and everyday life, we accompanied Niky on a flea market trawl and took a peek at her studio space. So, watch our exclusive clip to find out more about her art and the story behind the latest Mixed Tape cover.

The latest Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape has arrived! Click here to download your free copy of the “Vision Pearl” compilation.
Video Credits: 
Director, DoP, Editor: Nicolas Doldinger

From the latest Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape Compilation
"Adelaide Sky" – Adhitia Sofyan
"Close To Me" – Nosoyo
"Discovered Places" – Blinds