“AJA XXV,” a contemporary exhibition featuring up-and-coming artists, will be on view at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro St. in Little Tokyo, from Nov. 23 to Dec. 22.

Opening reception will be held Saturday, Nov. 23, at 12 p.m.

Over 25 years, the carefully curated AJA series has come to be known as one of the most exciting showcases of emerging artists from Los Angeles and Japan, and this year is no exception. The exhibit presents diverse media — painting, installation, and architecture — by contemporary artists Andy Ku, Wakana Kimura and Toshiaki Tomita.

The JACCC’s George Doizaki Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 12 to 5 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Monday and holidays. Admission is free.

AJA is supported in part by the L.A. County Arts Commission.

For more information, call (213) 628-2725 or visit www.jaccc.org.

Artist Profiles

© Tomoaki Tomita
© Toshiaki Tomita

• Toshiaki Tomita received his BFA in oil painting and MFA in mural painting from Tokyo University of the Arts. His work has been screened and exhibited at the Seoul Arts Center, Sakura City Museum, Yokohama Triennial 2001, Odense City Museum in Denmark, NICAF 2003, Contemporary Art Center Aomori, Akiyoshidai International Art Village, Tohoku University of Art and Design, University of Hawaii at Manoa, as well as numerous artist-in-residencies throughout Japan and Australia.

Writings and publications include: “Storytelling in Art Education: Direct Experience and Sharing of Personal Images According to C.G. Jung’s Individuation” (The Journal for Society of Art education in University); “Analytic Visualization Being Applied to Elementary School Teacher Training Course” (Hokkaido University of Education Journal); and the artist books “Doublogue” and “Spring in Desert.”

Presently, Tomita is an assistant professor at the Hokkaido University of Education.

Tomita’s work is a poetic documentary about certain images  born from a relationship with others, a story about the process whereby the images change and grow in that intimacy.

© Wakana Kimura
© Wakana Kimura

• Wakana Kimura, JACCC’s media art director, was born in Japan and graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts with a BFA in 2002. She attended Otis College of Arts and Design in Los Angeles and graduated in 2011 with an MFA.

Recently, Kimura was commission by City of Inglewood and Metro Art Los Angeles to create artwork for the poster series, “Through the Eyes of Artists.”

She has exhibited her artworks throughout Japan and the United States. In 2012, her solo exhibition was held in the gallery of Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio.

© Andy Ku/OCDC
© Andy Ku/OCDC

Andy Ku, a lecturer for UCLA Architecture & Urban Design, received his BFA from The Cooper Union, spending his undergraduate studies forging interest towards architecture from conceptual sculpture and Swiss style graphic design. He also has a Master of Architecture degree from SCI-Arc. During this period, his work was charged by the pivotal transition of massive design tool change from a strictly analogue practice towards the digital.

Ku is a partner and a co-founder of OCDC (Organized Crime Design Collective), a Los Angeles-based architecture office that draws design concerns and modus operandi from the terrains of technology, mass media and consumer culture. The firm won four AIA Next LA awards in its first two years of operation. Since then it has produced numerous award-winning projects at multiple scales across continents. The work of OCDC has exhibited in Cape Town, Milan, New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Osaka.

In conjunction with the practice of OCDC, Ku has connected professionally with NBBJ as a lead designer for sports and entertainment architecture. He also has served as an executive architect on large-scale institution and arts performance projects at Gruen Associates.

He has been teaching in the area of visual studies and design studio since 2003. Prior to UCLA, he has held academic positions at SCI-Arc and Pasadena City College, developing a blend of research that speculates on the problem of architectural representation and its relationship to building design.

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