Alisa Tanaka-King is a Japanese-Australian artist, whose practice focuses on sustainability, community and the handmade. Her arts practice is an experimental exploration combining installation and the drawn line, performance, storytelling and food, and is underpinned by a strong foundation in traditional techniques and skills. Her work is often conceptual and explores the audience experience by creating immersive and interactive spaces.
Alisa is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne) having completed a Bachelor of Fine Art (printmaking) and Graduate Diploma of Performance Creation (animateuring).
Alisa has travelled extensively, participating in residencies and research trips that have cemented her interest in a socially engaged practice, using art to better understand, communicate and document global issues.
This has resulted in an exploration into artistic documentation and archiving practices, taking the core principles of illustration, and adapting and reimagining them in a contemporary and conceptual manner.
Her multidisciplinary practice continues to illustrate, document and instigate conversation around pressing global issues including climate change, globalisation, and human rights.
Alisa compliments her solo practice by working closely with communities to offer workshops, run events, and create public artworks. She focuses on engaging communities who don't always have access to art, or experience working on creative projects. Alisa has been working in the community art space since 2013, and it continues to be an important element of her arts practice and an area she is very passionate about.
Alisa also works as a freelance illustrator for commercial projects. You can find her work on brochures, greeting cards, fabric prints, children's books and in office spaces.
Recent Credits Include:
My Generation: Intergenerational Community Art Project, ECLC - September 2022
Dumplings Darling: Love Without Borders, Melbourne Fringe Festival - September 2021
F.O.C.U.S, Theatre Works - April 2021
F.O.C.U.S, Bus Projects - April 2021
Fenton's Feast Podcast, Bus Projects and Yarra City Council - July 2020
Quasi-Nature, Archive Collective (Montreal) - September 2019
The Wild Within, Guest Project at Sunbury House, London - July 2018
The Bird Girls, Hamer Hall, Melbourne - November 2017
International Emerging Artists Awards Show, TAG BXL Gallery, Brussels - May 2016
Journey Through Landscapes, Hawthorn Studio & Gallery, Melbourne - August 2015
International Art Olympia Finalists Exhibition, Tokyo - June 2015
Recent Projects & Commentary
Future Origins of Community & Universal Sustainability (F.O.C.U.S)
F.O.C.U.S is a conceptual art project that takes place all over the world, inviting people to share in a dining and conversation experience that embodies social creative practice and sustainability. Local and seasonal ingredients are showcased, with great importance placed on balance and dining experience. Part performance, part installation, part storytelling, F.O.C.U.S highlights the importance of community and its role in environmental and emotional sustainability.
“A multi sensorial journey that made me reflect on the remote environment I was living. Each meal revealed the intersections between stories, people and natural elements of the location. It felt as a once in a life time happening, where strangers found each other in a remote place to share a relatable story.”
“The dinner was a platform where I felt free -- through thoughtful and unobtrusive guidance from the artist -- to share observations, experiences and thoughts. It was a surprise, a feast, a poem. The artist has inspired me with new understanding about performance and interaction.”
The Earth Issue: Manifesto p. 130-147 “Forming Creative Communities Around the Dinner Table”
The Bird Girls
The Bird Girls is a visual response to the shock and horror at the number of female deaths in Australia each year as a result of violent acts against women. In 2016, Alisa drew a faceless portrait for every woman killed by acts of violence in Australia. The 74 portraits were exhibited at Hamer Hall in Melbourne, and launched the 16 Days of Activism Victorian Government initiative in 2017.
Victorian Government Case Study: Alisa Tanaka-King's Dedication to Women Killed by Acts of Violence
Artist's Blog: Writings from The Bird Girls project
My Generation: Intergenerational Community Art Project
s a diverse, intergenerational public art project that is colourful, quirky, and most importantly, aims to challenge Ageism. Alisa designed a public mural which incorporated the work of primary school students from the local Boronia area, and older members of the community.
To see more about the project, click here.
University of Melbourne Victorian College of the Arts (Prinmaking)
Postgraduate Diploma of Performance Creation (Animateuring) 2012
University of Melbourne Victorian College of the Arts Bachelor of Fine Art (Printmaking) 2009
Awards, Residencies, Grants
Cash for Creatives, Melbourne Fringe Festival 2021
Creative Victoria, Sustaining Creative Workers Grant 2020
City of Yarra, Covid-19 Quick Response Grant 2020
La Wayaka Current residency, Arctic and Desert 2017
International Emerging Artists Award, Gallery Show winner 2016
AARK Residency Finland July 2016
Australia Council for the Arts ArtStart Grant 2015/16
International Art Olympia 2015, First Round Winner
Arteles Freedom to Create Residency 2014
Awagami Paper making International Artists Program 2014
Melbourne Fringe Festival Outside Eye Program 2011
University of Melbourne National Scholarship 2007-2009
Quasi-Nature, Archive Collective (Montreal) September 2019
The Wild Within, Project Spaces (London) July 2018
The Bird Girls, Hamer Hall (Melbourne) November 2017
International Emerging Artists Award Exhibition, TAG BXL Gallery (Brussels) May 2016
Birds with Hats, Animals in Suits The French Institute Gallery (Fukuoka) 2016
Summer Exhibition, Hawthorn Gallery and Studio 2015/16
A Journey Through Landscapes, Hawthorn Gallery and Studio 2015
Art Olympia 2015 finalists exhibition, Living National Treasure Museum (Tokyo) 2015
Deluge Divine, Hawthorn Gallery and Studio 2013
Common Ground, Hawthorn Gallery and Studio 2011
Stranger Places, Brunswick Street Galleries 2011
Works on Paper, Hawthorn Gallery and Studio 2010
VCA Graduate Exhibition, Victorian College of the Arts 2009
Past Events & Productions
My Generation: An Intergenerational Community Art Project, ECLC, September 2022
Dumplings Darling: Love Without Borders, Melbourne Fringe Festival October 2021
F.O.C.U.S, Gasworks Arts Park April 2021(re-scheduled from 2020)
F.O.C.U.S, Bus Projects (Melbourne) April 2021 (re-scheduled from 2020)
Fenton’s Feast Podcast, Bus Projects (Melbourne) July-October 2020
F.O.C.U.S, Project Spaces (London) July 2018 F.O.C.U.S,
King St Studios (Lancaster) July 2018
F.O.C.U.S, La Wayaka Current (Atacama), October 2017
F.O.C.U.S, AARK (Korppoo), September 2017
F.O.C.U.S, La Wayaka Current (Sørøya), August 2017
24hr Ballarat Experience, Ballarat Ballarat Community Health 2015
Exquisite Lands at The Metanoia Live Works Season, The Mechanics Institute 2015
Arteles Live Review: October, Arteles Creative Centre 2014
Democratic Set: Lucas, Ballarat Community Health 2014
Set Sail, VCA Postgraduate Animateuring Showing 2012
Community Arts Coordinator -Ballarat Community Health 2013-current
Key artist & designer - MILKWEED 2014-current