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  • Writer's pictureWave Runner Surf Club

May: Alissa Ohashi

Updated: May 6, 2019

What’s your wave (hustle)?:
"Photography and mixed-media installation art."
The first time I discovered my passion was......
"......when I was living in Australia back in 2015! I had an iPhone 4 at the time and was documenting my travels. I became super obsessed with finding the perfect composition of life in the rainforest, or running and having to leave behind one of my converse shoes after it fell off while trying to beat the sun to get that golden hour shot of the Twelve Apostles, or learning how to use the time-lapse function at the same time I was learning to surf in Bali, or holding a DSLR in my hands for the first time in Vietnam. It was a beautiful adventure and I am so blessed to have experienced it all!"
My biggest influence......
"......oh, man! There are so many. When I first started to research photographers and artists, I fell in love with David LaChapelle, his vibrant colors and tableau theatrics! I then moved on to Cindy Sherman, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Deborah Luster, Carrie Mae Weems, Zoe Leonard, Stacia Yeapanis, Sable Elyse Smith, Fierce Pussy, the list goes on. Other than artists, my biggest influences are Alan Watts, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and Carl Jung."
What/who inspires you to do what you do?
"Again, the list is endless. My biggest inspiration is simply the creation of art itself. Art allows me to work through my personal experiences in a productive and creative way. It also allows me to learn about other people by giving them a platform to express themselves. Whenever I create, it has to be one of two things: emotionally intelligent and meaningful and/or aesthetically pleasing, preferably pushing boundaries."
Who do you hope to inspire?
"I hope that the people who are meant to see my work, find my work. We're all on our own, individual journeys and if my work inspires anyone, in whichever way it resonates with them, I am grateful. My mentors at CCAD, Ric Petry, Mary Skrenta, and Elisa Smith have inspired me and have pushed me to be the best version of myself. I hope when it's my turn to teach someone, that they are on their own spiritual journey of love and authenticity and I can teach them what I know, and they can teach me in return."
What are you creating right now?
"I just finished my thesis work for my MFA program. It's a 36'x16' installation piece comprised of over 120 images, called 'Who We Are,' that investigates personal familial relationships along with transgenerational trauma dating back to the Japanese internment camps WWII."
What do you have coming up down the road?
"I graduate in a couple weeks, and I don't have any finalized plans. I'm interested in a few different options including an intensive artist residency, potentially a PhD program (that's just a budding thought, we'll see in a few years), working for Sony as a travel photographer would be a dream come true, but I'm open, so we'll see where the wind blows me."
Where can we find/see/learn more about your work?
"Website (I need to update it): or instagram: @alissaohashiphotography"
What message do you want to share to inspire others?
"If you've found something you're passionate about, GO FOR IT! If not, don't give up, keep sending positive messages to the universe, even if you have no idea what that is. I used to say "please let me find my passion, whatever it is, I'll be really good at it. Thank you, I appreciate you." I know that sounds silly, but hey, here I am today doing what I love and I am grateful. Oh, yeah, it's really important to genuinely express your gratitude and to listen- sometimes, if you're struggling in life, be quiet, find your peace, and say thank you."


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