January 2017: Article on Akira Ohiso's Seattle Drawn Artwork
The January 11, 2017 issue of Real Change features Akira's latest work, Seattle Drawn, which is now on view atPopuluxe Brewing through Jan. 31st. Thank you to Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project and staff writer Lisa Edge for the feature.
To read the full article, you can pick up a copy at local vendor locations throughout the city.
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September 2, 2016: Feature on Photography For Girls, our collaboration with photographer Kelly Merchant
This Fall, we had the opportunity to work with a really special photographer, working on a really special project. Kelly Merchant, (along with Akira Ohiso and Ellie Ohiso) is the driving force behind Photography For Girls. A movement that consists of photographing women on their terms with realistic representation, portraying them in a light where they are comfortable in their own skin.
BEEKMAN 1802 BOYS
Featured Artist September 2015
Liberating the Exquisite Corpse
FOR SOME ARTISTS, GIVING UP CREATIVE CONTROL OVER THEIR ARTWORK IS THEIR WORST NIGHTMARE. BUT IN A NEW COLLABORATIVE ART EXHIBIT CURATED BY ELLIE AND AKIRA OHISO, CALLED EXQUISITE CORPSE OF THE CATSKILLS, CREATIVE CONTROL WAS TRADED FOR CHANCE, HUMOR, AND SURPRISINGLY PROFOUND RESULTS.
The concept was adapted from a surrealist parlor game developed by artist André Breton. Though exquisite corpse was originally intended as a way to pass the time at French cafes, it became an integral part of the Surrealism art movement, and of the way that period in art history is now explained. So the goal, says Ellie, was to “take an idea that, in its inception, was meant to be a game among friends [and was] turned into taught art history, back to its roots.” And in returning the game to its original form, she and husband/creative partner Akira transformed the normally “extensive” and editorial process of exhibit curation into something spontaneous, democratic, and fun.
It should be mentioned that the main stream media is following a trend that began with bloggers and even print publishers, in identifying this 2-3 hour remove from, particularly, Manhattan and Brooklyn, as THE get-outta-Dodge destination for the stylish and hip. Green Door Magazine, alas, closed its doors last year, but covered the colorful and creative people and places populating the Sullivan County area. And they coined the frequently used phrase "Hickster," which really does accurately portray that Brooklyn cool meets Upstate flannel population of weekenders who are buying and visiting in increasing numbers.
To promote the march, event organizers ran a month-long advertising campaign throughout New York City’s subway system. One of the two posters selected from hundreds of entries to represent the campaign depicts the Statue of Liberty submerged up to her armpits in water. Along the horizon, where an ominous ocean meets an overcast sky, big white letters declare: “The Next One Won’t Be Biblical.” The poster is bleak, a clear allusion to the flood in Genesis that only Noah, his family, and several pairs of lucky animals survived, while the unrighteous perished.
“We wanted to make something that was powerful enough and scary enough to get people to look at it,” says Akira Ohiso, who, together with his wife and design partner, Ellie, created the apocalyptic graphic.
“When I share the image on social media, I’ve had cousins of mine who are still quite religious say things like, ‘Oh, please, that’s such hyperbole,'” Ellie says. “And then I’m like, ‘OK, yes, it’s hyperbole. So let’s talk about exactly how high the water has to get on Lady Liberty before you start having a discussion about what’s really happening.'”
PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH SUBWAY POSTERS: A RAY OF HOPE, A SCHMEAR OF FEAR
Tickets to a Broadway show can cost hundreds of dollars. But, as any New York City subway rider knows, $2.50 gets you a front row seat to an ever-changing cast of characters delivering monologues, dance routines, musical numbers, and other diversions to liven up your morning commute. With a daily ridership of 5.5 million, we’re a massive captive audience, a potential goldmine for the panhandlers, hip-hoppers and doo-woppers who compete for our spare coins.
But what if you demanded a sea change, instead of spare change? This month, a trio of artists is doing just that, with a pair of posters that ask New York City subway riders to open our eyes, not our wallets. The vivid graphic designs by the wife-and-husband team of Ellie and Akira Ohiso are the winners of a poster design contest sponsored by Avaaz, the global civic organization, to promote the September 21st People’s Climate March.
THESE INSPIRING POSTERS WILL REMIND NEW YORKERS WHY THE PEOPLE'S CLIMATE MARCH IS SO IMPORTANT
The organizers of what may become the largest climate-change march in history have just announced the winners of a poster design contestto promote the event in one of New York City’s most visible locations.
The two winning designs, which were chosen by a panel of judges including Shepard Fairey, Barbara Kruger and Moby, will appear on one out of every 10 train cars on the New York City subway from August 25 until the People's Climate March on September 21.
“The design plays against popular catastrophe film stereotypes to bring fantasy into possible reality. The commercialized design is meant to target a larger audience that likely wouldn't be interested in traditional eco-messaging,” Ellie Ohiso said.