in partnership
(Image courtesy of Shogo Ota).

Artist of the Week: Shogo Ota

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
Since 2007 as a professional, I started my own art/design studio in 2012. Tireman Studio!I love all different mediums, acrylic, watercolor, printmaking, silk screening, stencil, enamel paints, fat markers, pens, pencils, even random branches from my backyard and shape it into drawing sticks!

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
There are a lot of different processes based on the projects. For example, music posters, I listen their music and sometimes pick lyrics or song titles for inspirations. I always pay attention to my surroundings even when I bike around in nature. There is always some fun stuff hidden to help my creativity.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
Just like I mentioned above but I always think about how I can surprise people and clients, understanding their needs and requests. I believe artists and all creative people can do funky stuff if there is some good reason with it.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
I always love using funky animals and insects. You will see a lot of them if you check my website.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I was lucky enough to work on the Starbucks unity cup in 2016 and received a lot of positive messages. One of the messages was, “I'm a grandmother of six. My cousin's children are biracial Japanese-American and my son's children are biracial African-American. Your poster represents my family and how we are indeed, stronger together.” I used to think art is just art that I can enjoy, but believed it could change something a little bit.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Story above is one of them.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
I’ve worked on this big mural at Starbucks store in Sea-Tac airport, terminal B, Ma-Ono restaurant in West Seattle, Casco Antiguo in Pioneer Square, Fremont Foundry in Fremont, Yesler Park, etc.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I’ve been working on my first 3D mural for this big company in Seattle and very excited to see the final look! Also, I’ve got this HUGE wall in Sodo area with creative freedom this summer. Can’t wait to paint something funky in a large size! My first Japanese food restaurant branding is about to start as well, this will be very unique one.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Most of the time an Americano with a little bit of milk, but started to drink Espresso and Cappuccino after I went to Italy!