The Stranger: Critics' Picks

OHISO new solo show at Ghost Gallery at the historic Oddfellows Building in Capitol Hill was named The Top Nine Things to See at the May 2018 Capitol Hill Art Walk and a Critics' Pick.


Writer, blogger, and artist Ohiso will show mixed media works combining photography and illustration inspired by Seattle sights. The colors are lovely, and the examination of enduring neighborhood institutions and gentrification is bittersweet.

Akira Ohiso's lovely mixed-media works meditate on changes in the Seattle landscape.

Westside Seattle: Art Interruptions

Delridge neighborhood becomes outdoor art gallery


The Delridge neighborhood has become an outdoor gallery, as part of the Art Interruptions program – offered through a collaboration of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and the Seattle Department of Transportation. One of the featured artists is Akira Ohiso. His piece “Smelting” features delicately drawn fish on white windsock kites.


Mon, 11/20/2017

By Lindsay Peyton

Art has blossomed in the Delridge neighborhood this fall – popping up on roadways, in parks and at homes. 

Akira Ohiso’s piece “Smelting” features delicately drawn fish on white windsock kites, an homage to the smelt that once lived in Longfellow Creek before the Industrial Revolution. 

Nestled among the bamboo forest in a home on 26th Ave SW is Shawn Park’s “Orange you glad for green? Yes, I pink so.” The artist creates colorful lines, drawing contrast to the nearby greenery. 

Tia Matthies created a small herd of brightly painted goats for her “Goats of Many Colors” – and Maria Jost made a surreal undersea-scape for her “Sea Creature Scavenger Hunt.” 

For his piece “Hinernacula: Batcall,” Ryan Burns placed a delicately carved bat box in a neighborhood park. Susan Brown created theatrical collage characters that were placed on poles throughout the neighborhood for “Wild and Creative Wonders.”

Jasmine Brown’s work “Black Teen Wearing Hoodie” was made to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death. 

She created life-size decals of her son wearing a black hoodie and participating in his day-to-day activities, from reading a book to playing music. 

Brown said her son is 14-years old – and a hoodie is part of his school uniform. 

“I wonder how many of our white neighbors would be afraid if they saw him going to school wearing his hoodie?” she said. “Every time my son leaves the house, I worry. Does he have a target on his back?”

She said the piece is her way of making a strong statement. “What I use is my art, my camera, my paintbrush, my work as a way to protest and make a mark,” she said. 

For Brown, the location of her work is also meaningful. The photos are installed across the street from the Cooper School Artist Lofts, where she first lived with her son after moving to Seattle. 

“I still feel a connection to the neighborhood,” she said. “It was my entrance to Seattle. It’s cool to see my work on the landscape there.”

Artists featured in this outdoor exhibit participated in the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Public Art Boot Camp. 

“They explain how to seek big commissions, how to start out, how to adapt your work,” Brown said. 

Marcia Iwasaki, project manager for Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Public Art Program, explained that the boot camp is intense. The free program is held each spring and offers insight into every aspect of public art -- from how to maintain outdoor work to the ins and outs of contracts. 

Participating artists are encouraged to apply for the Art Interruptions program – offered through a collaboration of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and the Seattle Department of Transportation.

“Right away, they get their first opportunity,” Iwasaki said. “And they have enough background to understand what goes into it.”

Summer Jawson, senior civil engineer in project development for the Department of Transportation, explained that Art Interruptions follows on the heels of the department’s Neighborhood Greenway program. 

Culture Trip: Named 1 of 9 Emerging Contemporary Artists in Seattle to Know


9 Emerging Contemporary Artists From Seattle to Know

When people think of Seattle, they often think of the well-established, household names in business, music, and art. Even after the creation of grunge some 20 years ago, Seattle is still kicking; the city has more to offer than Bill Gates, Kurt Cobain, and Chihuly. In a place that’s always looking forward, here are nine emerging contemporary artists.

Akira Ohiso

Akira Ohiso is an artist, writer, and musician who is interested in exploring the “boundaries between digital and analog media.” His current sketches, created with his finger on his iPad with help from an app, are observations of the city of Seattle. Though he intends the art to be objective for the audience to interpret as they like, he does hope to specifically promote discussion on diversity, homelessness, gentrification, and green living.

Art Beat Blog of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture

Art Interruptions 2017: Delridge Greenway and Connector Trail

Temporary artwork in the Delridge Neighborhood Greenway and Connector Trail

August 3 – December 31, 2017

The Office of Arts & Culture, in partnership with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), commissioned seven emerging public artists to create temporary art installations within the Delridge Neighborhood Greenway and Delridge Connector Trail for Art Interruptions 2017. The artworks inhabit city sidewalks and parks and offer passers-by a brief interruption in their day, eliciting a moment of surprise, beauty, contemplation or humor. Art Interruptions is funded by the Seattle Department of Transportation 1% for Arts Funds.

Art Interruptions Walking Tour Saturday, October 7, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Explore the West Seattle neighborhood, experience Art Interruptions and meet the participated artists. Hosted by Feet First; visit for detailed updates. All photos by Minh Carrico.

Smelting by Akira Ohiso

Akira Ohiso’s art installation brings attention to the history of the river as a fertile fishery for the Duwamish Native tribe. The shallow banks of Longfellow Creek once supported smelt, but they slowly disappeared with the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent proliferation of chemicals and toxic waste. Ohiso created drawings of native smelt – in red, yellow, black, and blue – that were then digitally printed onto white windsocks to create fish kites. In the artist’s Japanese culture, fish kites (Koinobori) are flown on poles to celebrate an annual national Children’s Day – symbolizing hope for a healthy and prosperous future for children. This year also marks the 75thanniversary of the Japanese-American internment camps, adding poignancy to the installation.


Real Change: January 11, 2017


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.

"Real Change is a reader-supported low-barrier work opportunity that rewards effort from the first day forward. More than 300 active vendors sell our award-winning weekly newspaper each month, with about 800 vendors served annually."

More than a million dollars is earned annually for vendors by purchasing the paper on the street.

Learn more about this empowering program here.



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.

Read the Feature

Catskill Made Summer 2015 Issue: June 21, 2015

Liberating the Exquisite Corpse


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.

Read Article