My work is a blend of European, American, and Asian references. It is a fusion of influences that affect my daily and imagined experiences along with my interest in shape, abstraction, color, calligraphy, music, dance, poetry, and the unconscious.

Asian painted scrolls, popular Japanese tenugui towels, folk toys and my everyday life have inspired my exploration and development for an ongoing series of work titled, Animal Friends. The animal images are rendered abstract although gestural brush strokes form the familiar shapes and pictorial relationships with layers of color animating the surface of the paintings. With this series, I want to evoke a celebration of life, humor, and a spirit that connects us to our emotions.

During the pandemic lockdown, I began exploring and developing a series of work influenced by texting on all my devices. Painted chat bubble forms evolved into a variety of shapes and colors. As a third generation Japanese American, with late experience speaking Japanese, I also began looking at Japanese manga and seeing simple vocalizations (Onomatopoeia) in hiragana and katakana. For me, the written forms are also beautiful abstractions created through the unique confluence of line, shape, and gesture.

Helen Oji

January 03, 2023