Summer Song // Shogo Okada

Exhibition Dates: January 12 – February 16, 2024

Opening Reception: Friday January 12, 2023 @ 5 – 8 pm

Artist talk: Saturday January 13, 2023 @ 1pm

In-person and livestream via Zoom

This talk is free to attend and open to the public.

Exhibition Text by Steacy Easton


Martha Street Studio is pleased to present Summer Song, a solo exhibition by Shogo Okada (QB).

Working within a multi-disciplinary practice reverberating between art-making and music-making, Shogo Okada explores playful visual expression through the print works in Summer Song with intuitive, empathetic consideration. Building the exhibition from individual motifs the way a DJ builds a set, Summer Song takes its title and inspiration from a Dave Brubeck Quartet song of the same name. With precision and vibrant colour, Okada curates a warming ensemble of works that resonate with memories and impressions of summer.

From the lushness of a tomato plant in full red bloom, to suggestions of an incomprehensible giraffe on a lazy dog day, Summer Song crafts an enigmatic view of warmer days. Resisting a linear reading in favour of exploring spatial relationships between each work, Okada doesn’t want you to think too much. Instead, he wants you to feel the rhythm and the relationship of each work, then experience them all like one playlist.


Artist Statement

I predominantly work in screen printing and also make music, and both disciplines influence each other. I like making a composition out of subjects I encounter. The motifs vary from natural objects to artifacts and traditional works but I always pick something that has interesting shapes, colours and structures. I start from a theme, distill the essence of the subject and create my composition that works with the nature of the motif.

As I process the image, I explore all kinds of composition possibilities and combinations. It’s similar to writing music. You make a theme, and develop ways to approach this theme. I like the fact that some unexpected phrases come out during the process of both music and visual art productions. Contrary to how painters work in general, as a printmaker I work in a subtractive manner to emphasize and focus on the core value of the subject so that I can keep the conversation simple and easy, but playful.

When it comes to style, I go for abstract because it doesn’t tell you everything like figurative works do; it is more poetic and also provides space to think freely. As we digest things by referring to own memories when engaging with abstract works, we can have a more open and unique exchange of thoughts. I mainly work in the traditional or so-called “old-fashioned” analogue way, but I also use my computer for further development. I start an image by drawing, editing it in real life and also on a computer, and finishing the image by hand.

I prefer working in both forms; manual operations limit the possibilities compared to digital work but the human hand gives warmth and an organic feel. On the other hand, the computer offers a lot more possibilities for editing and refinement. So, I combine both old and new techniques to develop an image and print the work by hand to create contemporary but timeless works.


Born in Osaka, Japan, Shogo Okada lives and works in Montréal, Québec. His practice explores the worlds of visual arts and music, and he is influenced both by counterculture and diverse historical eras. His technique shows impressive precision and warmth expressed by screen-printing without digital processes, watercolour drawings, and analog music production. His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and fairs in Canada and Japan. Okada’s work is included in many private collections and in public and corporate collections including the Bibliothèque et Archives nationale du Québec (BAnQ), Capital One USA, National Bank of Canada, and BMO.

Documentation photos by Sarah Fuller and Bramwell Enan

December 20, 2023