Born in California to Japanese parents and living in the United States, Asuka Ohsawa has been painting a series of invented stories called Space Invaders since 2010. The stories, painted in three installments over a period of several years reveal a world rich in fantasy and mythology, and closely allied to the tradition of Manga. Ohsawa’s work, informed by her passion for storytelling, is rooted not only in her personal family history but also in the culture of Japan. Encouraged by her family Ohsawa would write short stories and comic books as she grew up. Influenced also by medieval “emaki” or scroll paintings and “ukiyo-e” prints that were mass produced in the Edo period (1603-1868) Ohsawa has joined the contemporary world of manga and anime with her own distinct style. Uniting elements and perspective from both the East and West, the series is meticulously executed, boldly painted with brilliant gouache colors on paper, and reminiscent of traditional Japanese paintings.
The first chapter, Space Invaders, depicts an imaginary universe populated by aliens, filled with dark foreboding, and conflict. The second chapter, the Next Generation, with over twenty panels, paired the extra-terrestrial race in a roaring war with humans. The third chapter, the paintings for this exhibition, portrays the mythological origin of the alien species.
Ohsawa received her BFA at California State University, and MFA at the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She has exhibited in the United States and in Italy, and is represented in private collections in the United States and Europe. Recent awards include residencies: Frans Masereel Centrum Residency in Kasterlee, Belgium, and Center for Book Arts Residency in New York, NY.