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Keita Onishi: Visual Harmonies

A Parallel Planets piece by Julia Escano
I have always somehow associated Japanese aesthetics with clean lines, minimalism, and precision. I see it in the Japanese art of flower arrangement called Ikebana. I see it in the torii gates marking Shinto temples. I even see it in the grids of buildings lining Kyoto's streets. This is probably why when I see Keita Onishi's minimalist graphics, I couldn't help but think how Japanese they seem. But just like Japan's rich and, let's be honest, sometimes eccentric ways, there is more to Keita Onishi's works than meets the eye. Specifically, his seemingly simplistic lines and shapes also fill the ears.



The 35-year-old Kamakura City-native specializes in accentuating the coexistence of visual and aural stimulation. Majority of his works have been a balancing act between visual movement and auditory dynamics, making them a multidimensional experience.

Keita's most famous work to date, a series called Forest and Trees, is a perfect example of this. It is an installation composed of twelve small frames of moving graphics. With the bouncing springs, the floating triangles, and the myriad of other geometric shapes comes short sound bytes that accompany the movement of his art. Individually, each frame creates a playful visual and musical loop that has a fun, if not hypnotic quality. But all together, the installation creates a perfect balance between stimulation and relaxation. While the shapes moving around the frames tickle the brain, the combined sound of each frame is soothing and cool to the ears.

Keita has also worked extensively with Japanese band, Haisuinonasa. He has created music videos for their songs, Reflection and Dynamics of the Subway, as well as concert graphics for their Logos concert. The Tokyo University of the Arts graduate has also designed for live shows and television.


His works can be enjoyed best in his Vimeo page, where his Forest and Trees installation can be viewed in its entirety. A complete gallery of his works and projects can also be found on his website. If you are fluent in Japanese, Keita also keeps an active Twitter account where he posts everything from works-in-progress to sources of inspiration.

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