Yusuke Ochiai, born in Tokyo in 1977, became entranced with the radiant colors of his surrounding Japanese landscape at five years old, mixing and matching materials ever since. Today, he lives and works in Bushwick, Brooklyn and has been participating in Bushwick Open Studios in Brooklyn since 2012, continuing to display his interest in vibrant colors through his work as a New York City street artist. Building on this playful engagement with New York City’s public in his first U.S.-based solo exhibition, “POI: A Messenger of Love,” Ochiai introduced “Poi”-related creations—artworks that variously represent his muse named “Poi” (short for “Path Of Imagination”). As Ochiai explains this character, “I found him through my own imagination but now Poi manifests himself in countless forms, on canvas, in concrete, and with paint immersing himself in the colors I absorb. Poi gives me the happiness that I hope to bring to the world.” He notes that these visual expressions “represent my emotions and experiences at that particular moment of my life – whether stemming from reality or my own imagined dreamscapes.” Colorful, large paintings fill walls like bursts of energy, all centered on depictions of Poi. Borders of creeping flowers, concentric circles of color evoking the mandala, and bright, otherworldly orbs of light frame the unique figure. Ochiai’s works are colorful swirls of love and lust, earthly experience and otherworldly possibility. The paintings pull in viewers to share a moment of connection with Poi, this messenger of love, and envision a dream of another reality.