If you love street art and graffiti culture, POW WOW Hawaii might just be your paradise. Year after year, Jasper Wong brings together a tight knit group of insanely talented artists and I was lucky enough to be a bystander this past month. When it comes to creating a sense of community, there’s nothing quite like outdoor public art. I immediately fell in love with the sense of camaraderie amongst this brilliant crop of people. What ensued was a dreamlike week of incredible art, picturesque landscapes and, of course, some island adventures.
We teamed up with RVCA ambassador Mahina Alexander and photographer Zak Noyle to give you a tour of some of our favorite new murals in the increasingly colorful neighborhood of Kaka’ako in Honolulu. Peep the tales of my excursion and feast your eyes on some islander babe eye candy below!
James Jean may be famous for his fine art and commercial work, but this year’s POW WOW marks the first time he ever tried his masterly hand at a mural. The Taiwanese artist titled his piece “Island girl, born of volcanic ash, shape shifter, earth mover,” a musing that couldn’t help but remind me of our magical little model.
Daughter of surf legend Kala Alexander, Mahina grew up in the North Shore of Oahu with an interest for arts, culture and spirituality just as big as her unconditional fear for the mighty ocean. She’s all you wish a beautiful 17 year-old would be; rambunctious, adventurous, literate and curious – the epitome of RVCA‘s #beautifullyunrefined tagline.
On our way to Lana Lane Studios, we caught a glimpse of the making of a beautiful collaborative mural by Aussie talent Meggs and Czech born, American vandal Bask (see the final piece here). A large creative space that hosts numerous parties and exhibitions during and way beyond the POW WOW gathering, Lana Lane is where participating artists fuel up and get their supplies. We picked up this year’s official snapback that perfectly matched the Glenn Dress in Sea Green.
The front of Fresh Cafe, the hot spot for the best sandwiches in Honolulu and POW WOW’s official HQ, was blessed with the work of DEFER, Norm and Kamea Hadar this. You’ve already seen our art crush in the parking lot created by our friends Cyrcle. We’re huge fans of he shave ice at next door’s Kaka’ako Kool, a rad little shop selling collectible toys and a bunch of epic local treats.
As we set out to explore the neighborhood we bumped into this epic samurai-inspired piece by Brooklyn-based Japanese artist and babe Lady Aiko. Her signature appears on a scroll that reads: “Here’s Fun for Everyone — Aiko.” Get it.
Alexandre Farto AKA Vhils, a Portuguese artist known for “destroying to create,” executed this majestic portrait of King David Kalakaua, the last reigning king of the Kingdom of Hawaii, using a handheld drill as his only medium. Unique and dramatic, this is without a doubt one of my – and Mahina’s – favorite pieces in the mix.
Tristan Eaton is a beast. As much as I love watching artists feed off of each other while working together on a wall, there’s something to be said about creating a piece of art that complex and massive by yourself in a mere four days. Tristan’s bold signature style truly shines in his piece titled “Escape The Night.” Peep the full view here.
Madsteez is straight up one of my favorite humans. Last year I told the story of him setting out to paint King David Kalakaua and it was only natural that this year he would challenge himself to paint another icon of Hawaii royalty, Elvis Presley. See the final mural here.
We stopped by for a twirl in front of this colorful, pattern-centric piece by street art duo Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, two of the coolest chicks I had a chance to meet on this trip.
The mural below was created by French artist Julian Malland aka Seth Globepainter.
Most artists stayed at the stunning Utopium Estate in the North Shore. Described as a place where “utopian thought is encouraged” and “creativity is nourished,” this lush estate is housed on 50 acres of forested land. Hopefully next year, we get to stay there…