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Illustrator and artist Shoga Ota from Seattle will be series' second speaker

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Artist Shogo Ota has been creating art for Starbucks for a number of years.

With summer fading away the fifth season of Art Talk is poised to commence in Newberg.

The conversational series is designed to consider the artistic process in an informal setting with a presentation and a question and answer time.

The first Art Talk of the season begins with Seattle artist Shogo Ota at 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Chehalem Cultural Center, 415 E. Sheridan St.

Art Talk is a collaborative effort of the George Fox University art department and the cultural center. The talks allow a variety of artists from across the nation to share their profession, experiences and insights with students from the university and the public.

"It gives people exposure to the wide range to artistic practices and how they handle their creativity and work," Brandon Waybright, co-chairman of the applied design department of art and design at GFU, said. "It shows the professional side of what is going on in the art world. We bring in people whose living is made in the various artistic forms."

GFU art professor Jillian Sokso was responsible for starting Art Talk and based the event on a model she'd seen elsewhere.

"I first started weekly visiting artist lecture series as a faculty member at Houghton College," she said in an email. "When I joined the faculty at GFU, my colleagues were really excited about how this kind of program might serve the community here – and now that we're four years into that effort, we are seeing some strong benefits. First, the program is free and open to the public … and gets our students out meeting and greeting some local folks that might not come to the campus."

This year's second speaker, Ota works with companies ranging from start-ups to Starbucks. One of his most well-known pieces is a 43-foot by 15-foot mural he drew at a Starbucks in Chicago that depicted more than 200 people in black and white. He is known for his continuous drawing style of portraits of hundreds of people, all drawn with one continuous line, and his psychedelic 1970s style of art.

"The continuous line drawing is one of the projects for Starbucks," Ota said. "I've been working with them for about five years and they dropped three or four projects for me. … I always come up with ideas that fit what the clients are looking for and I do brandings for restaurants and startup companies."

Ota also creates posters for companies such as LULA salads, Chambong and Big Gin. He has hundreds of digital drawings of sea life in the Puget Sound and the Seattle Aquarium. He is starting to get known in the Seattle music scene by creating festival promotional materials, posters, album covers and stickers in an old tattoo style.

He arrived in America from Japan when he was 18 to first learn English and then attend college to study business, but he found it boring. Some friends suggested going into graphic design and he worked for a small design firm for almost seven years, before striking out on his own in 2012.

"I was really nervous, usually people get paid every month and now I have to work to find work," Ota said. "I almost thought about getting a side gig like doing dishes at a restaurant, but I thought if I have that kind of time, then I should use that time to build my business."

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