TL;wR: mixed-media artist & designer learning self actualization through colloquial metamorphism. as a 5th-generation San Franciscan, Openi utilizes digital, tactile and auditory art forms to activate narratives of identity and engage in introspective conversation on the ever-shifting cultures of both self and space.
Cultural Worker, Designer, and multi-hyphenated Artist Lala Openi creates designs, films, and spaces for the extended & multifaceted communities in which they live, work, love and grow, as a genderqueer (gnc), 5th-generation San Francisco Bay-bred “American Born Chinese” (ABC).
Openi’s work as a creative strategist is in shifting the dominant narrative by both conceiving of, as well as bringing visual and conceptual execution to projects that challenge our engrained perspectives in the ongoing conversation with both self and space.
Since 2012, Openi has brought visual clarity & intentional representation in a contemporary digital-forward landscape through pixel-perfect execution and conscientious consideration in projects which holding space for underrepresented narratives in communities within their native Bay Area, and second home of O‘ahu.
While their past work has focused on collaborative & inclusive revisioning of contemporary representations of the joy & multiplicity of black & indigenous people of color (bipoc) as a direct counter to racial triangulation; their future work hopes to build on equal representation, justice and prosperity for all people of color including their fellow ABC’s within the larger currents tessellating and succeeding in the undoing of cultural and humanitarian erasure.
As a member of now-staple Bay Area tastemaking collectives Them Hellas and The House of Malico (formerly known as Malidoma Collective), Openi has fed fuel to Bay Area Gen-X creative culture with collaborative & individual installation & visual art, as well as documentation as founder of Veuxdo Child Films.
After relocating to O‘ahu for health reasons in 2016, Openi brought their experience in spacemaking to co-create INBTWNS, Hawai‘i's first QTIPOC-centered safe(r) space party of its kind, catalyzing a new chapter in O‘ahu's nightlife and creative scene. In 2017, Openi produced and curated "Also Here" - the first official gallery exhibition for Honolulu pride, which centered queer Kanaka Maoli alongside local qtipoc artists.
While Openi’s work with The Contingency and The House of Malico is featured in Lei Culture, The Eastbay Express, and SF Weekly, their work as a solo, contributing, and presenting artist has been shown at the Oakland Museum of California, SOMArts, at Contact Hawai‘i 2018, and at the Honolulu Biennial 2019.
After creating & running Veuxdo Child Films from 2008-2015, Openi entered the film festival circuit as a director & lead actor of their short film “U” which made its debut at Honolulu International Film Festival 2017, with sequential selections at Hawaii Rainbow Film Festival 2018, and CAAMfest 37 in 2019.
Openi continues to simultaneously serve as in-house freelance Design Consultant, Video Editor & Motion Graphics Artist to many Oakland Bay Area space-makers & culture-keepers including The Abstract, The House of Malico, EastSide Arts Alliance, World Trust Educational Services, Edutainment for Equity, and Sh8peshifter Inc.
I truth-seek through mediums.
As an artist, I like to choose my brushes carefully; the truth is multifaceted, and different sagas require different brushes.
Whether you need branding, graphic design, custom illustration, mural paintings, motion graphics, animations, I love to collaborate on creative projects.
Book me for commissions, showings, and collaborations.
Here are some brushes I use on the regular
- Video Production & Editing
- Motion Graphics
- Branding & Identity
- Brand Consulting & Design Support
- Concept Development
- Web Graphics & Site Building
- Portrait Photography & Photojournalism
- Illustration & Mural Painting
Some people I've had the pleasure of working with.
Curated Screenings & Solo Shows
"SAMESAME: Hong Kong Series"
Oakstop Gallery & Online
Oakland, CA (cancelled due to Covid-19) x Worldwide (virtual gallery)
Hawai'i Rainbow Film Festival
Honolulu Museum of Art
Valentines to my Ancestors
About the Goods
Hawai'i International Film Festival
Category: Made in Hawaii
Spellin Spells x FFLYY stories
Ark of the Unicorns, Honolulu, HI
Spellin Spells x FFLYY stories
#SanctuarySpaceHI hosted by Aupuni Place
Ward Warehouse, Honolulu, HI
April through June 2017
The Manifest, Honolulu, HI
Hound & Quail, Honolulu, HI
Building With: Christian Eddings
Black/Feminist/Lesbian/Queer/Trans* Cultural Production:
A Symposium Honoring the 20th Anniversary of
Cheryl Dunye’s “The Watermelon Woman”
Studio213, Honolulu, HI
Building With: Christian Eddings
Queer Brilliance Film Festival
Carriers of the Funk Film Festival
Omiiroo Gallery, Oakland, CA
The Discourse: Words Are Power
The Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Hosted by the Homies x The Discourse
Moco Gallery, Oakland, CA
Selected Group Exhibitions
"Fragments of Spectrum"
Installation by The House of Malico
Craneway Pavillion, Richmond, CA
Co-Created with Kaleipumehana Cabral
CONTACT HAWAII: Reimagining Waikīkī
Co-Created with Eat Cake Gallery
Gardens Project presented by Art World Escape
T-Galleria by DFS
"U" by Openi
"The Plan" by DeMareon Gipson
Night Light: Divine Revolution 2017
SomArts, San Franscisco, CA
Urban x Indigenous III: Keep Pushin'
SOMArts Cultural Center
San Franscisco, CA
Witness | From Shadows
The Arts at Marks, Honolulu, HI
We've Been Here
AS Art Gallery, San Franscisco, CA
The Black Woman is God: Night Light
SOMArts, San Franscisco, CA
Layer Studios, Oakland, CA
Krowswork Gallery, Oakland, CA
"U-GODS: Reflections on Divinity"
Night Light: Multimedia Garden Party
SOMArts, San Francisco, CA
"One Struggle, Many Fronts"
In collaboration with Thomas Wong, Joy Liu, and Greg Morozumi
Who Is Oakland / I Am Oakland
Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA
"Celestial Ponderings in Oracle Bone"
Beings of Stardust // The House of Malico
Grid Gallery, Oakland, CA
"Creator and Destroyer"
The Hellas Hideout, San Francisco, CA
Get in touch
Lets build! Shoot me a message and we'll make a game plan.
Bay Area x Worldwide
Openi on Instagram
The Abstract Podcast
The House of Malico