An annual celebration of Asian American arts and artists
A guitarist who fuses Latin, pop and jazz sounds with Filipino-Spanish influences, Angelo Pizarro has performed in numerous venues across the city and beyond. Being surrounded by music at an early age, Pizarro learned to play the guitar by ear. He says that his father and brothers are his main musical influences and that the love for his family, life, peace and harmony are the inspirations for his music. www.angelopizarro.com
The isangmahal arts kollective, artists-in-residence at the Northwest Asian American Theater (NWAAT), is a Seattle-based non-profit arts organization conceived to cultivate the mind through progressive and conscious art. Isangmahal, which means “one love” in Tagalog, is comprised of poets and spoken word performers, musicians, visual artists, movement & dance, actors, dj’s, videographers, writers, analysts and activists in outreach and retention programs. www.isangmahal.org
Deems Tsutakawa – the second son of world famous artist, George Tsutakawa – began playing piano at the age of five and won the annual Washington State Music Teachers Association Award at the age of nine. He originally played classical music, but in high school turned his attention to jazz because he fell in love with R&B and soul music. His passion to perform and write continued to grow from his early days at nightclubs in Central Seattle and the International District to worldwide concert halls and clubs, from Tokyo to London. www.deemsmusic.com
A Vietnamese grassroots, community based organization created by working professionals to provide community services and development and to promote and preserve Vietnamese cultural harmony. Helping Link provides social, cultural and educational programs, such as English as a Second Language and computer training, to empower the Vietnamese people in practical and effective ways.
International District Housing Alliance
IDHA is a non-profit agency committed to building communities and advocating for the needs of low-income residents, especially those with limited English proficiency. The mission of IDHA is to improve the quality of life for International District residents and APIs of greater Seattle by providing low-income housing related services. The organizations’ Wilderness-Inner City Leadership Development (WILD) youth program focuses on environmental justice and civic participation.
Wing Luke Asian Museum
Named after Wing Luke, a prominent figure within the local Asian community in the 1950s and 60s, the museum was founded to fulfill his vision of creating a space to preserve the culture and traditions of Chinese and other Asian immigrants. Wing Luke envisioned a place to present the history and important issues of Asian Americans and the museum has done so since 1966. www.wingluke.org
Born into a family of artists, it was to no surprise that Saya Moriyasu fell in love with the world of art. Moriyasu graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Ceramic Sculpture and afterwards attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and won a residency at Centrum in Port Townsend. She has had installations and exhibits at various galleries including the Esther Claypool Gallery, Bellevue Art Museum, OK Hotel Gallery and more.
In her artist statement, Etsuko Ichikawa says, “I am deeply affected by something intangible, such as feeling, atmosphere or spirit.” See her profile on page 7. www.etsukoichikawa.com
Aki Sogabe was in middle school when she first imitated a paper cutting illustration using origami paper. Ever since then she has loved to practice the ancient art form of Japanese paper cutting (kiri-e). At first Sogabe made kiri-e only as presents for family and friends but after moving to the United States with her husband in 1978, she introduced this art form to the Northwest. She is also known as a children’s book illustrator and received The Golden Kite Honor Book Award in Illustration for “The Loyal Cat.” Her original illustrations were selected to the NY Public Library 100 Books for Reading & Sharing and The Society of Illustrators, “The Original Show” in New York. www.akisogabe.com
Aloha Island Treasures
Aloha Island Treasures (AIS) brings Hawaii to the Northwest with goods from the Islands as well as the culture. AIS, located at 17034 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline, is owned and operated by Gloria Napualani Fujii and Uncle Bill Nahale’a, and offers food, gifts, lei’s, CD’s and more. They also offer Hawaiian Hula Dance classes taught by Fujii, who has over 28 years of experience teaching, performing and creating Pacific Dance Arts in Hawaiian, Tahitian and New Zealand Maori dance. Nahale’a produces the “Hawaii Showcase Television Magazine” co-hosted by Fujii and Uncle Wiliama. “Hawaii Showcase…” is a live weekly show featuring news, music reviews and more. www.alohaislandtreasures.net
Archipelago is a Filipino-American owned online company that offers merchandise that celebrates Asian American culture – true to the business’s tagline, “Asian Expression.”
Its Web site features a wide variety of T-shirt designs and accessories, including products that celebrate historical figures like Philippine national hero Jose Rizal and Mahatma Gandhi.
Launched two years ago by four Seattle-based siblings, Carina de Leon, Cory de Leon Hiraiwa, Carisa de Leon Bodsky and Ferdinand de Leon, the company’s primary goal was to serve a community largely ignored by most mainstream retail businesses.
As Filipino Americans, their main focus will be the Filipino culture. But the company plans to expand their designs to other Asian American and immigrant cultures. www.archipelago-inc.com
BY JOYCE YIU
Looking for a special wedding gown? Having troubles finding a well-fitted dress? Want to purchase a fashionable cosmetic bag? Perhaps Wai-Ching Studio is the right store for you.
Many Asian American women have trouble finding the right clothing at American department stores, says Chrissy Wai Ching, the fashion designer and owner of the studio.
“Being part Asian, it is just very difficult for me to find the perfect fit. Everything is so big at the stores and it doesn’t look right on me,” said the designer.
Ching thinks that body shapes look a lot better if people are able to find well-fitted clothes, which is also the reason why she custom makes every piece of her clients’ clothing.
Clothing at Wai Ching Studio is designed according to customers’ tastes and requests.
“Usually customers would come in and let me know how they wanted their clothing to look like prior to ordering; I would then custom-make the clothing up to their liking,” said Ching.
The designer says that her products are very unique compared to other boutiques because she hand dyes and paints all of her masterpieces. The art techniques she learned from Hong Kong are particularly useful when it comes to designing and producing her clients’ orders.
“I’m most interested in the art aspects whenever I’m making a piece of clothing; I wish people would view my designs more as a kind of wearable art and not just a simple piece of clothing,” she said.
Besides working on the order requests from her clients, Ching has put much effort to further publicize her store. The designer has found that organizing fashion shows are quite effective. A show at Barca, a stylish Capitol Hill club, two months ago proved to be a success. That night was a blast for the designer because hundreds of people had the opportunity to have a good look at her products.
At the same time, Ching has been designing costumes for a dancing group in Queen Anne.
“I’m looking forward to attending the dance performance in early February as my work will be seen in motion; it’s just very exciting for me,” said the designer.
Ching is also attending the art festival, “Arts, Etc.” presented by the International Examiner on Nov. 5. She will be setting up a booth to display some of her clothing samples in order to attract more customers.
“I want to give people a sense of what I do and make some publicity for the store,” said Ching.
The designer said her future goal is to expand her production lines and make more unique outfits available to her customers. If time allows, she would love to organize an exhibition at local art museums, such as the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington.
“It’s just nice to see my work hanging up as art pieces and being displayed in vitrines,” said the designer.