IN CONVERSATION: Giorgiko on "The Seed of Peace"

by Emilie El Jaouhari

Giorgiko's Darren and Trisha Inoue, Photo by: Emma Marie Jenkinson


From 26 April to 25 May, WOAW Gallery Wan Chai will showcase The Seed of Peace, solo exhibition by the Los Angeles-based artist duo Giorgiko. Organised in partnership with American gallery Thinkspace Projects, the exhibition features twenty-five new oil paintings and ink drawings exploring the search for peace in its different forms and the costs of obtaining it.


Giorgiko is a creative duo of husband-and-wife artists Darren Inouye and Trisha Inouye, both born in Los Angeles, USA, in 1989.The duo met at their alma mater ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, and they haven’t left each other since they sat in the same classroom.


Trisha hails from a Korean immigrant family in the San Francisco Bay area, while Darren is a 4th generation Japanese-American from Los Angeles. They live in the greater Los Angeles area with their twin children.


The name Giorgiko is a combination of Darren & Trisha's middle names, George and Songyi, but it is more than just a juxtaposition of two artists identities. Giorgi means farmer, land-worker in Greek, while the suffix -ko comes from Japanese, which resonates with Darren’s Japanese roots, and means childlikeness. Giorgiko’s moniker represents their childlike characters struggling to find their way home on earth and symbolises what they are trying to convey in their artworks.


 Giorgiko, The Seed of Peace, 2023


Often asked how complex it can be to work as husband and wife, Trisha and Darren are so used to be collaborating together since they met that they consider it as an absolute strength. The only challenge would be sometimes torelease ego and trust each other when their ideas clash. But they are humble enough to have learned to appreciate each other’s strengths and acknowledge their own weaknesses.


We absolutely need each other and complement each other as artists and partners. In the beginning of our collaboration, we simply combined Trisha’s characters with Darren’s painterly skill. Over time, our creative process has become more integrated. Trisha’s minimalistic characters are enhanced by Darren’s environments and lighting. Darren’s ideas for paintings are often sparked by exploratory drawings in Trisha’s sketchbooks. We share ideas, develop themes and narratives, and give each other feedback and critique.


Giorgiko’s artworks fuse Trisha’s characters’ sweetness and Darren’s street art influence, blending classical painting techniques with anachronistic elements, and enabling their characters to transcend space and time. Characters in urban clothing appear stranded in the wilderness, while characters in historical attire linger in apocalyptic urban landscapes.


The duo expresses recurring themes of feeling displaced, discovering empathy, holding onto hope and retaining innocence. Long-forgotten space dogs dream of home, just like pink-haired girls do. The duo has exhibited their works in North America, Australia, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Korea and Dubai.


The Seed of Peace is their first solo exhibition in Hong Kong and is a reflection on how difficult it is for humanity to experience peace, whether through escaping conflict or exerting control.


We contrast humanity’s attempts at achieving peace with simply receiving peace the way the ground receives a seed. This is represented in our artwork by a divine seed that grows into a beautiful tree in the midst of a tumultuous environment.


This exhibition reflects the many small turning points we continually make in our artistic and personal journeys over time. We drew inspiration from the biblical narrative of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, a story about peace that was attained through sacrifice. We personally have found peace through believing in this story, but we also often succumb to anxiety and the need for control. “The Seed of Peace” reflects the everyday struggle to allow the story of Christ to give us peace.


The artworks for this show are brand new pieces, since the duo has always chosen to create new works for each show, with a common thread of introspection. Also, their original works have been consistently sold out for the last several years!


Giorgiko. Where the Branches of Peace Grow 3, 2023


Our artwork has always been introspective, like personal prayers exploring the various difficulties within our own lives, or the lives of others around us, or throughout history. Oftentimes we find common threads connecting our artwork as each one is produced, leading to an overall theme that encompasses them for each exhibition. For “The Seed of Peace”, we decided on the theme first and let each subsequent drawing and painting build upon that theme, leading to more cohesive storytelling, repeated motifs, and deeper personal reflection.


Trisha and Darren have different inspirations and don’t fit into any specific artistic movement. Trisha loves children books, while Darren is interested in documentaries and humanity stories. While distinct, their inspirations are all conveying the same meanings and sentiments in their artworks.


We draw inspiration from many different places. We are hugely inspired by the way music and film can capture significant moments in time of the human experience. There is so much inspiration to be found in everyday life as well. The good, bad, and mundane moments in life offer opportunities for appreciation, expression, and connection with others.


As artists, we share a kindred spirit with other artists and creatives from various disciplines. We also understand that the work we create is a product of a long lineage of artists throughout history. But we don’t necessarily make it a goal of ours to fit into any particular movement. We are more interested in how we can create a connection with the everyday person who might view our artwork and create a cathartic and empathetic experience for them.


Giorgiko, In Awe, 2023


For people of Asian descent like them (Trisha, from a Korean family and Darren from a Japanese-American family), exhibiting in an Asian country has a special meaning and resonance.


Although we come from different backgrounds, we can relate to the experience of having a mixed culture. One thing we love to explore in our artwork is empathy and connection with those who have different yet not-so-different experiences. We are excited to make connections with people through our artwork, and we are honoured to have our work exhibited in Hong Kong.


This show is their first solo exhibition in Hong Kong - after an artistic collaboration to “Mr Men Little Miss 50th Anniversary” at Times Square in 2021. Despite having many close friends and connections from the city, they have not yet experienced Hong Kong culture, but have prepared their exhibition with some “East meets West” inspirations, peculiar to Hong Kong.


When we think of Hong Kong, we think of East and West coming together in a unique way, and this has influenced our preparation for this exhibition. In deciding on a theme for this exhibition, we took into consideration some major Eastern and Western observances and celebrations of the season: Easter, Tomb-Sweeping Day, and Spring. The ideas of life, death, and resurrection felt very timely and significant, and were constantly on our minds as we created this new body of work for “The Seed of Peace”.


Finally, when asked how they would describe their artworks, Trisha and Darren said: Empathetic, Anachronistic, Childlike, Human, and Prayerful.



The Seed of Peace, by Giorgiko

26 April – 25 May 2023

WOAW Gallery Wan Chai

G/F, 5 Sun Street Wan Chai, Hong Kong