Ballard Art Walk: Akira Ohiso
6:00 PM18:00

Ballard Art Walk: Akira Ohiso


Akira Ohiso is an artist, writer and musician who gained popularity as an outspoken blogger and social media voice. He was the co-founder and editor of Green Door Magazine, an upstate New York publication that promoted green living. He received his Masters of Social Work degree in 2003 and has worked for years in the social services profession where his experience working with vulnerable populations continues to inform his engagement with the digital world. A recent transplant to Seattle, his digital drawings document the unyielding gentrification and displacement of a city that creates great wealth and great suffering.


I work in the digital realm using a drawing app on my iPad. I don’t use a stylus, only one digit - my index finger. It’s literally digital art.

Raw digital material is culled from the internet to explore identity in the 21st century. Finding “self” in an increasingly cybernetic world is an existential dilemma. Who is my avatar? I tweet, therefore I am.

As I begin to journey through digital space, I start taking pictures or screen shots. I collage, cut, obscure, layer, trace and manipulate digital detritus. Based on an image, I react and make choices. Memory and my biracial identity play an important role in my choices as I try to reconcile aesthetic with process. For example, the act of tracing text is like primitive mark- making; it has purpose regardless of what it says or how it looks. I am creating, I am human. I find traces of digital selfhood that I never found in the analog world.

The limited digital palette is both freeing and democratic. Anyone can use the same mass- produced digital tools; an emoji, a brush stroke thickness, the Nashville filter. A pop sensibility influences my process as I explore the liminal fracture between digital and analog identity.

View Event →