Rika Nakanishi was born and raised in Kobe, Japan. Her father was a fashion designer and together with her mother, her parents owned a clothing line and a boutique. Her father is also a writer of film reviews for many publications and magazines in Japan. At an early age he took young Rika along with him to screenings and gave her a unique window from which to view the construction of film and the telling of a good story. This generous early education peaked her interest in cinema and set the course for the remainder of her studies.
Drawn towards the artistic opportunities Los Angeles promised to offer, Rika moved to the city in the late 1980s and studied fine arts for a few years under acclaimed artist, Martin Lubner. He taught her how to see things in a unique way and to listen to her own inner voice which takes courage. This, considered to be her second education, further intensified her passion for the fine arts. Both her Asian background as well as her exposure to American culture added an original East-West flavor to visually tell stories.
Rika studied film at UCLA and shortly after graduation started to work with a Production Designer,Tom Brown for a number of years. They worked on numerous live theater presentations and television shows for BET. Beginning her career as an art director during the mid 1990s, Rika worked on various hip-hop related shows featuring, to name just a few, Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige and many more.
During the late1990’s Rika took on the challenge of becoming a production designer crossing over to commercials and feature films. This gave her the opportunity to expand her creativity into other medias as well; music videos, theme park designs, and restaurant designs. Rika truly enjoys the different challenges these other disciplines offer. Directors such as Nicolas Winding Refn, Tom Hooper, Sofia Coppola, Alejandoro Gonzales Inarritu, and James Mangold have been particularly impressed by Rika’s dependability, her ability to deliver, and her special flare influenced by her bicultural and international background.
Rika has traveled extensively and has worked on various films in the United States (Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Mexico, New York, Boston, Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, Cincinnati, Tucson, Hawaii), Canada (Vancouver) and the Pacific Rims (Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea). No matter in what city or what country she works in, she skillfully puts together a crew of locals that get the job done on time and on budget. Rika, fluent in both English and Japanese, plans to continue her never-ending journey while always discovering new things. She surfs and plays golf regularly, and keeps her home base in Los Angeles; however, she also enjoys her second home in Japan.